Parents of Warwick HS student killed in 2018 crash file suit against accused driver Debra Slaymaker-Walker
LANCASTER COUNTY — The parents of one of the students killed in a crash outside Warwick High School last year are suing the driver of the car suspected of causing the accident and the insurer of the car she was riding in for more than $350,000, court documents show.
Robert C. Keeney Jr. and his wife, Wendi, are the parents of Meghan Keeney, who was riding in a car with her classmates, Rylan S. Beebe and Jack R. Nicholson, when the stationary vehicle was struck by a speeding car driven by Debra Slaymaker-Walker.
Meghan Keeney and Nicholson were killed in the crash. Beebe, who was behind the wheel, suffered serious injuries.
Slaymaker-Walker, 63, of Mount Joy, was charged with third-degree murder, homicide by vehicle, involuntary manslaughter, and related offenses. She is awaiting trial on the charges.
Police say Slaymaker-Walker’s car, a 2016 Kia Sportage, was traveling an estimated 73 to 77 miles per hour before it struck several cars and slammed into Beebe’s vehicle, a 2013 Chevrolet Sonic.
The lawsuit was filed March 12 in Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas. Robert Keeney and Wendi Keeney are named individually as plaintiffs, and Robert Keeney is also suing as the adminstrator of Meghan Keeney’s estate. Each is seeking more than $50,000 in compensatory damages and more than $50,000 in punitive damages.
Slaymaker-Walker is named as a defendant in the lawsuit, which contends that the fatal accident was caused by her “carelessness,” “negligence,” and “recklessness.”
Her driving and operating conduct prior to the crash were due, at least in part, to Slaymaker-Walker’s attempt to “elude law enforcement personnel,” the lawsuit says.
Also named in the lawsuit is State Farm Insurance, the insurer of Beebe’s vehicle. The Keeneys argue in the lawsuit that Slaymaker-Walker’s car insurance policy, which provides bodily injury liability coverage of $100,000, is inadequate to fairly compensate them, since their combined losses and damages are “substantially more.”
Since Slaymaker-Walker’s car is “underinsured,” and the State Farm policy taken out by Rylan Beebe’s mother covers passengers in the vehicle, the Keeneys’ lawsuit argues they are entitled to funds under the State Farm policy’s “under-insured motorist” provision. The lawsuit seeks more than $50,000 from State Farm.
To pursue the claim against State Farm, the lawsuit says, the Keeneys’ are “compelled” by the insurer’s policy language to name State Farm, Danica Beebe, and Rylan Beebe as defendants as well.
The State Farm policy taken out by Rylan Beebe’s mother Danica covers passengers in the car, the Keeneys say. And since Slaymaker-Walker’s car is “underinsured,” the Keeneys say they can tap the State Farm policy’s “underinsured motorist” provision.
The lawsuit claims the Keeneys incurred significant expenses, while losing any future financial contribution to family expenses from Meghan Keeney, as well as her companionship and support.
Meghan Keeney also experienced pain and suffering, the lawsuit claims.
The lawsuit was prepared by the Georgelis Injury Law Firm, LLC.