Lawsuit filed in wake of bridge collapse

July 8, 2009 About 50 people fell into a lake when the bridge gave way following a Fourth of July fireworks show.

The lawsuit claims that too many people were allowed on the bridge at the same time.

Among those filing the suit is a woman who was one of the most seriously injured in the collapse.

It didn't take long for this lawsuit to be filed, just four days after the Fourth of July. Right now there are only three plaintiffs, but attorney Kenneth Allen says he has heard from many more victims and they will be added, some claiming they will never be the same again.

"I thought I was going to die, it was very scary, kids were screaming," said Treneice Campbell, plaintiff.

Fourth of July fireworks fun turned into a night of terror for Campbell, now in a wheelchair because of a fractured bone in her back.

It was also a scary time for Markieta Moore and her 5-year-old daughter, Maijah. They were among some 50 people who fell into the water when a pedestrian bridge collapsed after the fireworks show ended at Hidden Lake Park in Merrillville, Indiana.

"All I heard was like a snap, fell in the water. I can't swim. I really was very scared," said Campbell.

Both are now plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed Saturday by personal injury attorney Kenneth Allen. Named as defendants are Ross Township, Indiana, and the Ross Township Trustee.

Allen says the fireworks show has been a safe event for years at Hidden Lake Park. But this year, he said, police officers who were stationed at both ends of the bridge for crowd control left too early, allowing too many people on the bridge.

"They certainly had police officers during the fireworks, but they abandoned their post as soon as the fireworks celebration was about to end," said Allen.

Markieta Moore has been training to become a pilot but fears that dream may be jeopardized now because she reinjured her back. She had surgery for scoliosis when she was 11 and says she had been pain-free until this.

"It's terrible now, I would rather stand than sit, hurts so bad -- nothing helps," said Moore.

The attorney also got a temporary restraining order to preserve what he calls "crucial evidence" from the bridge collapse. He says some of the evidence may have already been tampered with. A town trustee called that claim ridiculous but would not make any comment on the lawsuit.

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