Estate sues city of Dayton after hit-and-run that killed 20-year-old man

Published: Wednesday, September 11, 2019 @ 9:06 AM


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The estate of a 20-year-old man who was killed in a hit-and-run is suing the city of Dayton claiming it negligently did not post necessary traffic signs, which contributed to the crash.

Tabitha Peyton, the mother of Logan Grimes Jr. and the administrator of his estate, has filed a wrongful death complaint against the city.

The lawsuit claims the city failed to erect and maintain mandatory lane control signs to warn motorists that a right lane on Smithville Road was ending.

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Grimes, who lived on South Garland Avenue, was killed on March 1, 2018, after being struck by a Chrysler Voyager van, according to a crash report.

MORE: Police: Arrest made in fatal Dayton hit-and-run pedestrian crash

At about 9:15 p.m. that day, 43-year-old Eaton resident Stephanie Higgins was driving the van south on South Smithville Road when she struck Grimes, who was standing near the southwest corner of the Suman Avenue intersection, the crash report states.

Higgins left the scene but turned herself into authorities days later, shortly after police located her vehicle.

Earlier this year, she was indicted on a third-degree felony count of failure to stop after an accident.

She pleaded guilty to the charge and was sentenced to 180 days in jail, up to five years of probation and a three-year license suspension.

MORE: Eaton woman indicted in hit-and-run that killed pedestrian, 20, in Dayton

The civil complaint says Higgins was unaware that the right lane of South Smithville Road ended and that she needed to merge to the left lane.

The city’s failure to post signs warning the lane was ending was negligent, created a dangerous situation for the public and violated provisions of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, the lawsuit states.

Grimes’ family said he was returning from McDonald’s, just a few blocks from his home, when he was hit by Higgins.

Grimes died at Miami Valley Hospital after medics found him motionless on the ground from what appeared to be a head injury.

Family members questioned why Higgins left the scene.

Higgins has previous convictions for possessing cocaine, liquor control, drug and soliciting violations and a variety of traffic control offenses.