PELLA, Iowa — The family of one of the victims of a fatal crash last December at Wal-Mart in Pella is now suing the store, its builder and the driver who crashed through the front door.
On December 1st, 2016 Dennis Mockenhaupt crashed his truck into the store, killing Wal-Mart employees Lindsey Rietveld and Carrie Zugg and customer Ruth Jean DeJong. Prosecutors ruled that Mockenhaupt suffered a medical incident that caused him to crash into the store. He was not criminally charged.
However a lawsuit filed Thursday by the estate of Lindsey Rietveld accuses Mockenhaupt of driving recklessly. According to the lawsuit Mockenhaupt says he was choking on coffee, causing him to lose consciousness.
The lawsuit also places blame for the crash on Wal-Mart and the architect who designed and built the building. The lawsuit claims the building did not include enough protective bollards in front of the store and the bollards that were in place were not effective.
The lawsuit asks for unspecified damages to compensate the Rietveld family for its loss and to punish Mockenhaupt and Wal-Mart for their alleged roles in Rietveld’s death.
Wal-Mart responded to the lawsuit on Thursday with this statement:
“We continue offering our prayers to the victims’ families. The safety of our customers and associates is among our top priorities, and we have consultants and engineers who designed this parking lot in accordance with local laws and regulations. While we have not yet been served with this lawsuit, we take this matter seriously and will respond appropriately with the court.”