The Owen kids lost their parents in a tragic freak accident this past winter, and they are saying that the state is to blame. The accident took place just before last Christmas, when the family was traveling in their SUV on Highway 2 near Stevens Pass. The conditions were icy and snowy, and overall dangerous. The highway should not have been open to traffic, but it was.

Winter was rough, and in the days leading up to the tragic incident, over 100 trees had snapped and fallen. The day before the accident was no different; three trees had snapped, blocking traffic on the highway. Most roads in the area had been shut down, as they were deemed unsafe. But Highway 2 remained open, and as the family drove on it, a tree snapped under the pressure of snow and ice, falling on the Owens’ vehicle. Tim Owen and Cheryl Reed Owen were killed immediately. Their daughters and son-in-law were badly injured and are still receiving expensive medical treatment.

Now they are making claims against the state, seeking millions of dollars in money, damages and losses. Their case is that the State Department of Transportation should have closed the highway because it’s conditions were much too dangerous for drivers, especially considering that several trees had fallen in the days before. They wrote that, “The state owes a duty to all persons to operate their roadways in a condition that is reasonably safe for ordinary travel. Operation for an unsafe, dangerous road is a breach of that duty.”

While the three injured are making some improvements physically, they and their brother, who was the only one not injured in the accident, still deal with the pain of losing their parents. And with the medical bills continuing to stack up, this case is as important as ever.

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