Delta Airlines has been hit with a lawsuit this week for the wrongful death of a woman whose husband fatally mowed her down in the car park of a Utah airport.
Representatives for the estate of slain mum Charlotte Sturgeon and her child, who witnessed the gruesome accident, say the airline is to blame for her tragic death, the New York Post reports.
They allege employees of the budget US carrier served husband Shawn Sturgeon at least two additional drinks despite him consuming “multiple” alcoholic beverages before even boarding the plane, according to a report by the Salt Lake Tribune.
The trio had been on a flight from a holiday in San Antonio, Texas to Salt Lake City, Utah before the April 4, 2022 incident on the second level of a short-term parking garage at the Salt Lake International Airport.
The drinks that the crew served him, “had intoxicated Shawn to a level well in excess of the legal blood alcohol limit, rendering him impaired,” and he didn’t even remember landing or making his way to the car, the lawsuit claims.
Once in the parking garage, Shawn argued so “loudly and viciously” with his wife that people nearby were “uncomfortable,” the outlet reported, citing criminal court papers from the time.
Shawn then got into the SUV driver seat and backed up, dragging Charlotte — who was outside the rear-right open door where her child sat — and causing her to fall under the vehicle.
He then put the car into drive and ran over his wife for about three metres before he finally stopped, the news site reported, citing criminal court papers and surveillance footage.
Shawn continued to berate his wife once he got out of the car saying “Are you f*****g crazy” and “Get the f**k up right now. Get off the ground and get in the car.”
He put her into the car and drove to the tollbooth where he asked for help.
Charlotte was unresponsive when police arrived and was later declared dead at a hospital.
Shawn’s blood alcohol levels were three time the legal limit at the time.
The husband was sentenced to 20 years in prison in September 2022 after he pleaded guilty to automobile homicide and domestic violence in the presence of a child, ABC4 reported.
Delta should have known that Shawn was heavily intoxicated when he was leaving the plane and yet, the employees took “no steps” to ensure he didn’t get behind a wheel or to inform the cops, the lawsuit claimed.
The airline’s negligence was “intentional, wilful, reckless, [and] wanton” and it cared more about making money “from continuing to sell” drinks to people “who are obviously intoxicated,” the filing alleged.
It added Sturgeon’s child now suffered from emotional distress and psychological illness.
The lawsuit was filed by Denise Marie Nimtz, the legal guardian for the child, and by Joseph Dalton, who is representing the estate with Nimtz, on Thursday.
Delta said in a statement Monday: “Although we dispute the allegations in the complaint, we cannot comment further on the pending litigation.”
This article originally appeared on the New York Post and was reproduced with permission