Government pays $3.5 million settlement to family of boy killed at California national park

Feb 20, 2014 7:50 AM

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - The federal government has agreed to pay $3.5 million to the family of a 9-year-old boy crushed to death by a retaining wall at a national park in Northern California.

The Sacramento Bee reports the lawsuit settlement comes after a federal judge stripped the government of its defenses following findings that Darlene Koontz, the supervisor of Lassen Volcanic Park, knew the wall was dangerous yet didn't fix it. Koontz was also suspected of attempting to orchestrate a cover-up by causing evidence to be destroyed and lying under oath in a deposition.

Tommy Bottell was killed during a 2009 outing when a wall that had deteriorated from lack of maintenance gave way. Tommy's siblings and his parents, Thomas and Jennifer Botell, witnessed the tragedy. One of his sisters was injured in the accident.


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