The parents of two Willow Springs student athletes each received $3 million following an arbitration award signed Tuesday, Oct. 18.

The verdict stems from a crash on Highway 181 in July 2019. The Missouri State Highway Patrol said Zachary White, 17, drove an SUV off the right side of the highway, overcorrected, causing it to overturn on the left side of the road about eight miles west of Willow Springs.

The driver and a passenger, Jonah Smith, 16, were killed. The boys were members of the football team.

Ivan and Janel Smith and Jeff White and Kyla White each received a $3 million settlement in a wrong death lawsuit filed against the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission. A three-member panel heard the case Oct. 10-12 in Springfield. Two of the three commissioners sided with the plaintiffs. The parents were represented by Lynn Henry of the Henry Law Firm of West Plains.

The panel concluded improper care of the roadway and a “dangerously steeply sloped” shoulder were factors in the tragedy.

Join the Conversation

1 Comment

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply