A plaintiff is seeking $750,000 in the wake of a 2018 van crash near the Interstate 82 and Interstate 84 interchange outside Hermiston that left her with traumatic brain injury.
The tort complaint, filed on Jan. 29 in Umatilla County, states Leona Ranstrom was left with cognitive deficiencies, multiple injuries and difficulty with usual activities due to injuries caused by the crash, and that she was unable to complete her freshman year of college because of it.
Ranstrom was one of 11 passengers in the Ford Econoline van, which rolled over on I-82 westbound when the driver, Largent Reeb of Lewiston, Idaho, failed to negotiate a lane change while trying to merge onto I-84. The van slid off the exit ramp and rolled.
Reeb, 28 at the time of the crash, pleaded no contest to a citation for failure to travel within a lane, and was convicted two days after the crash, which resulted in nine injuries and two hospitalizations.
Law enforcement officials at the time said the youth group, comprised of youths between the ages of 14 and 20, was traveling to a Christian conference in Portland from Lewiston.
Reeb and his congregation, the Lewiston-based River City Church, are listed as defendants in the complaint. He is currently listed as a youth pastor on the church’s website.
The Congregational Presbyterian Church of Lewiston lent the van to River City for the conference, and is listed as a defendant as well.
The complaint alleges that River City Church failed to properly train and supervise Reeb, and also to equip the Econoline van. It further alleges that Reeb was traveling at an unsafe speed for road conditions and failed to properly merge, resulting in the rollover.
According to the document, Ranstrom seeks at least $124,000 for medical expenses and for tuition reimbursement. The complaint states the plaintiff seeks a jury trial on the matter, and that the amount for economic and non-economic damages not exceed $750,000.
Ranstrom’s lawyer declined to provide comment to the Hermiston Herald regarding the matter and representatives from River City Church did not respond to a request for comment.
The defendants have yet to respond to the complaint filed.