Lawsuits Filed By Families of Two Young Children Killed In Separate Garage Gate Accidents
Two lawsuits have been filed for separate cases involving garage gate accidents that killed two children.
WESH 2 reports Dedric “D.T.” Holt, 7, and Jacob Alexander Joseph, 6, were killed by automated gates in the garages of their apartment complexes. Three years ago, Charkia Summers’ nephew, Holt, and his younger cousins wandered away after playing on a playground to an automated gate at a Tennessee apartment complex’s garage. According to the legal complaint, the garage door had open see-through bars, and Dedric was standing on the garage door holding onto the door bars with his hands.
Allegedly, the other children began to switch the garage door on and off, and that’s when attorneys say the gate rolled up with Dedric’s small head and body caught inside. He was hospitalized for weeks on life support but, as reported by the Tennessean, ultimately succumbed to his injuries.
A similar occurrence happened in Florida to Joseph. His family’s lawyers say the child stepped and held onto the bottom of the garage door’s automated curtain; the door rolled up with Jacob’s body caught. They claim no audible alarms or sensors went off to shut the gate down. One witness, Douglas Skogland, said he and others desperately tried to reach Jacob until first responders arrived. Once first responders arrived, he was rushed to the hospital and placed on life support, but he did not survive.
Summers said she couldn’t believe another family was living this nightmare. “It broke my heart to know that it happened again to another family,” Summers said. Especially since experts like Brenton Cheney, president of the International Door Association, claim incidents like this are completely avoidable. Cheney says every gate is required to have one fail-safe way to stop accidents as it closes.
“And that would either be a set of photo eyes down at the bottom, which is an infrared beam that goes across the bottom of the opening,” Cheney said. “There are a number of currently available safety devices that could fairly easily be adapted to take care of the safety features in an open position and open cycle.”