November 12, 2009
A jury in Albemarle County has awarded money to the family of a teen killed in a car crash on her way to school in May of 2008. The family of Sydney Aichs sued the man responsible for the deadly crash and his employer.
Friday evening a jury decided Kenneth Barbour and his employer should pay $1.75 million each to Aichs father, mother, and brother. They also awarded $50,000 for funeral expenses.
The courtroom was full of emotion Friday morning. Members of the court heard Sydney Aichs' father, Clinton, describe the day he was told his daughter was killed in an accident.
CBS19's Cheryn Stone was in the courtroom Friday morning. She reports that the plaintiff put Aichs' father, Clinton, on the stand. Clinton Aichs described holidays as "one word: empty". His testimony brought him to tears.
The defense followed by putting the driver of the truck, Kenneth Barbour, on the stand. Barbour says he accepted full responsibility for the incident. Barbour also told the jury that he has already pleaded guilty to manslaughter and is currently serving a two-year prison sentence.
Barbour ran a red light, and his tractor-trailer slammed into Aichs' car on Route 29 in May of 2008.
Barbour's Supervisor testified Thursday that Barbour knew the route well, and should have stopped when the light turned yellow. She also said Barbour should have been more aware of what was going on in the intersection because he is a professional driver.
The defense also asked the jury to consider that Aichs should have looked both ways, even though she had a green arrow.
The Aichs' family lawyer says the family feels vindicated.
"We're very pleased that the jury came back with this verdict. We think it's the right verdict; it's only a shame that it had to go this far. The Aichs feel vindicated. They feel like their daughter is vindicated, and we are just very, very grateful that the jury found what they did," says Greg Webb, the Aichs' family attorney.
Webb says that the millions will be not be coming from Kenneth Barbour. It will be coming from Barbour's employers, the truck and shipping company he worked for. The jury finding that they too are responsible for the negligence that caused the sixteen-year-old girl's death.