Family of pregnant MoDOT worker killed on the job to proceed with lawsuit

Family of pregnant MoDOT worker killed on the job to proceed with lawsuit
Family of pregnant MoDOT worker killed on the job to proceed with lawsuit
Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 9:04 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - The family of a pregnant MoDOT highway employee killed in a work zone crash will get to continue their wrongful death lawsuit against the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT).

On Wednesday a St. Louis County Circuit Court judge agreed to let the family move parts of the case forward.

This latest development comes as News 4 Investigates learned the driver who caused the deadly 2021 crash, recently died.

On November 18, 2021, investigators say Stanley McFadden, who was 52-years-old at the time, crashed through a work zone on Telegraph Road near I-255.

The crash killed 58-year-old James Brooks, and 25-year-old Kaitlyn Anderson, who was six months pregnant with a son named Jaxx. Another MoDOT employee, Michael Brown, sustained a traumatic brain injury and multiple severe fractures.

Prosecutors decided not to criminally charge McFadden, saying the crash was related to his diabetes.

News 4 Investigates uncovered McFadden had been in another car wreck three months before the deadly work zone crash. In that case police records show McFadden allegedly told police he was experiencing a medical emergency.

Social media posts from McFadden’s family about his death reference he suffered complications from diabetes.

The family of Kaitlyn Anderson was suing McFadden, MoDOT, and four MoDOT supervisors. Anderson’s mom Tonya Musskopf says the news that their suit could move forward came the same week as what would have been her daughter’s 27th birthday, and the same day as Jaxx’s due date.

“It would have been my grandson’s 1st birthday, I’m thinking that my daughter had a play in that,” Musskopf said.

The judge’s order will allow Anderson and Jaxx’s family to continue suing four MoDOT supervisors; Michael Love, Kris Jordan, Gary Ludwick, and James Henson.

According to the lawsuit the four supervisors put Anderson in an unsafe work zone.

The supervisors tried to get the suit dismissed. In court filings the judge said Anderson’s family has so far shown that the supervisors “blatantly, maliciously, and intentionally” didn’t do what they’re required to on the job.

That includes giving the crew a protective barrier, known as a TMA.

“The higher ups at MoDOT should have known they weren’t trained,” said Musskopf.

Last year, News 4 investigates exposed how one of the supervisors, Kris Jordan, admitted she didn’t follow MoDOT’s safety policies called TA’s.

“We had no idea what a TA was,” said Jordan.

News 4 reached out to all the supervisors again - Jordan is the only one who responded saying she believes she’ll be “exonerated because she was not on the site.”

She also said the “employees chose to be in a spot where they were not supposed to be.”

MoDOT says they can’t comment because of the lawsuit.

A loophole in Missouri’s worker’s compensation law means the department can’t be sued for Kaitlyn’s death, but the judge put out a new order saying they can still be on the hook for Jaxx’s death.

In court filings MoDOT argued Jaxx was an employee - the judge called that “absurd.”

“I wont stop fighting for, every highway worker deserves to go home at the end of their shift,” said Musskopf.

Lawyers will start trying to get sworn testimony, where we could learn more about what happened.

The family’s case is also changing since the driver who caused the crash died, as he was being sued as well.

Anderson’s mom tells me she wanted accountability - something she can’t get now.