Parents sue Redmond shopping center, driver over daughter’s death

REDMOND, Wash. -- The parents of a 2-year-old girl killed by a vehicle in a slow-speed crash at Redmond Town Center is now suing the property's owner.

The child’s parents are also suing the driver because they claim he was high on drugs at the time of the accident.

Veronica and Jonathan Dreher’s attorneys believe the owners of the Renton Town Center ignored code and safety standards when it designed parts of the property, which contributed to their daughter’s death.

“There’s an agony, we carry it with us,” said Veronica.

In July, police said 2-year-old Susie darted out into the roadway in front of an oncoming car.

Susie was with her big sister and their nanny that day, according to the Drehers. They were playing in the Sensory Garden playground when Susie darted out into the street and was hit.

Dreher’s lawyers said Redmond Town Center also didn’t properly maintain the landscaping, which obstructed the driver’s view of the sidewalk. They also claim that the fence surrounding the garden wasn’t secure, allowing Susie to run off even while being supervised.

“This is preventable,” Veronica said. “If this playground had been set up accordingly, this accident wouldn’t have happened.”

The complaint also lists the driver as a defendant, claiming he was high on meth and opiates at the time of the crash. He was also driving on a suspended license.

Criminal prosecutors are still considering charges against the driver.

But the Drehers said their focus is on Redmond Town Center, saying it didn’t to enough to keep their child safe.

“There are codes and standards for a reason,” said Jonathan Dreher. “We live in a society where we have the expectation where they will be followed and upheld. When they’re not, something has to be done about it.”

The family is suing for an unspecified amount of money for damages against the shopping center.

Hamilton McCulloh, a spokesman for the property owner, released a written statement in response to the Dreher’s suit.

“Redmond Town Center takes the safety of its guests very seriously. We are aware of the complaint that was filed in King County today and at this point cannot comment on the details of the pending case.”