South Carolina

Man’s entire family died when their car hit an alligator. He’s suing South Carolina

Josh Stanley’s wife and two young children were on the way from their home in Florida to Myrtle Beach for vacation last May when their car hit an alligator on I-95 in Orangeburg County, South Carolina, went off the road and hit a tree, according to The State.

The Kia caught fire, and all three were killed, The State reported.

Stanley’s wife, Amber, was 24 years old at the time of her death, while their son, Jack, was 4 and their daughter, Autumn, was 2, McClatchy previously reported.

They were my life,” Stanley told People magazine last year. “Everything we had was built around each other. We were building our family up.”

Now, Stanley has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the South Carolina Department of Transportation, Kia Motors Corporation, Kia Motors America, Hyundai America Technical Center and Kia Design Center America.

Stanley is suing for “mental anguish,” “loss of support and companionship” and “lost wages,” among other things, according to the lawsuit.

He is suing the SCDOT for not having fencing designed to keep wildlife off the road and for not removing trees in the median, according to the lawsuit.

He is also suing over the design of the family’s 2011 Kia Soul, which the lawsuit says lacked an “emergency unlocking feature” that would’ve allowed for escape from the vehicle and wasn’t “adequately designed” to prevent the fire from starting in the first place, according to the lawsuit.

Kia Motors and the SCDOT have both responded to the lawsuit.

Kia Motors says that there aren’t sufficient facts to “constitute a cause of action upon which relief can be granted,” according to the response.

The SCDOT says it has no liability for the injuries and damages caused by “the sole, willful, wanton, reckless, careless and negligent acts and conduct of a third party or parties over which the defendant has no control,” according to the response.

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Bailey Aldridge is a reporter covering real-time news in North and South Carolina. She has a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.