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Mother of Bend teen killed in June Wickiup Reservoir crash files multi-party lawsuit

Names teen driver, other teen who bought alcohol, 3 govt. entities, Bend Al-Mart that sold alcohol

BEND, Ore., (KTVZ) -- It's been nearly six months since the death of 17 year of Anthony Clough, known as AJ, a former Mountain View High student, in a crash at Wickiup Reservoir.

He was the passenger in a pickup while the driver, who investigators say was intoxicated, was doing doughnuts at the reservoir in late June when the vehicle carrying five teens flipped over, trapping AJ underwater. 

Now his mother, Lynelle Clough, has filed a $34 million lawsuit against six defendants.  

The teen's mother "waited in agony for hours," the lawsuit states, then watched her son's body removed from the water, causing "incredible trauma and emotional pain."

Back in June, AJ's mother shared with NewsChannel 21 just how much she misses him.

 "The hardest part of losing a child is living every day after," Clough said.

The defendants include the driver and the teen who allegedly bought the alcohol.

The US Forest Service and Bureau of Reclamation, the North Unit Irrigation District and Walmart are also named.  

Clough holds the Bend Walmart accountable for allegedly selling alcohol to an underaged teen who used a fake ID for the purchase.

Bend lawyer Emmanuel Miller is working on the case and said reckless behavior has been going on, unchecked, at the reservoir for a long time.

He adds that it is, in part, responsible for why AJ is not here today, and for the pain it’s costing the Clough family.

“It was, and probably forever will be, the worst day of my life," Lynelle Clough told NewsChannel 21 back in July.

The lawsuit alleges negligence, as well as seek expenses related to medical and funeral costs.

Miller said that it's the community that let AJ down, leading to his death, and that the teen driver, charged in juvenile court, failed several roadside sobriety tests.

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Bola Gbadebo

Bola Gbadebo is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Bola here.

Comments

18 Comments

  1. Wouldn’t be surprised to see this lawsuit thrown out. If anything, this woman might walk away with $50k, paid out by insurance companies. This lawsuit is ridiculous.

  2. I do have sympathy for her, as it is hard to bury a child or grandchild. On the other hand, she forgot to name the state of Oregon and Deschutes County for building roads that they traveled to get out there. The booze issue in Deschutes County needs to be addressed, if that means jailing who sold the booze as well as the drunk driver, so be it.

    1. The booze issue in Deschutes County needs to be addressed? Good luck with that. DUIIs are a revenue stream, first of all. Secondly, this town runs on alcohol and is the reason why Central Oregon exists. This woman shouldn’t be suing anyone, it’s a frivolous lawsuit that shouldn’t even be addressed.

  3. I can only see this succeeding against the driver and other teen who bought the alcohol. Suing Walmart and the other government agencies seems completely ridiculous.

    1. Walmart is responsible for verifying identification. If they can’t manage this, they shouldn’t sell alcohol. Totally agree as far as the gov’t agencies are concerned.

      1. What was Walmart to do? run a full background check before the purchase? This article says they had a false id – apparently it was quality enough to fool the checker. Or it could be like the stupid checker in Sisters a few years ago who refused to sell me beer because I had one of the kids and her boyfriend with me with no id.

      2. It says in the article that the teen used a fake id to buy the alcohol. Maybe the Walmart did check the id, but it was seemingly valid? I can understand the suit against walmart if they didn’t check the id, though.

  4. While I have sympathy for the family of the boy, it’s really a matter of choice and bad luck. Don’t make the choice to be a teenager and hangout with your friends and bad luck as there’s many teen that get away with this type of experimentation everyday, month and year dating back as far as history will allow.
    Grieve but don’t listen to the lawyers, they’re the only ones who will benefit.

  5. I would guess a greedy ambulance chaser proposed this lawsuit. Seems a bit much ($$).

    Personally ~ I would prefer to grieve and move forward vs. letting this consume. For as long as the lawsuit goes, it’s a constant reliving of the pain.

    That doesn’t mean I’m not sympathetic for her tragic loss, just my perspective.

    Lastly ~ if teens want to get their hands on alcohol they will. They need to be taught / to understand this is a consequence, and one that will stay with them forever. Teens have been doing this for many years.

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