Family of 14-year-old killed in crash involving vehicle from Fuller's Hinsdale car wash file lawsuit

Mark Rivera Image
Wednesday, December 13, 2023
Family of 14-year-old killed in Hinsdale car wash crash file lawsuit
The family of Sean Richards, who was killed when a vehicle from Fuller's Car Wash slammed into Fontano's, Hinsdale, IL, have filed a lawsuit.

HINSDALE, Ill. (WLS) -- The family of a 14-year-old boy who was killed in a car crash outside of a Hinsdale car wash is suing the car wash and the father of the 16-year-old driver.

Sean Richards was on the sidewalk across from Fuller's Car Wash when police say a teenage employee got into a car and hit the accelerator instead of the brake.

The Jeep Wrangler sped across two lanes of traffic, hitting Richards before slamming into Fontano's Subs downtown Hinsdale in July.

Sean should be alive today

Richards' parents claim that this is the third incident of this kind at that business.

"They knew that this could happen, and they took absolutely no reasonable steps to prevent this tragedy from occurring," said Bradley Cosgrove, with Clifford Law Offices.

Police confirmed at least one other incident of two vehicles rolling from the car wash a year prior, and T-Boning another car.

SEE ALSO | 3 injured in Hinsdale Fontano's crash that killed 14-year-old pedestrian file lawsuit

"Sean should be alive today. He should be finishing final exams, attending swim practice, getting ready for Christmas with his family. Instead, he's dead because of the reckless actions of Fuller's," his mother Kristine Richards said during a news conference Wednesday morning.

A parent's love endures even after the tragic death of a child.

"We are and always will be completely heartbroken and devastated by Sean's killing," father Brian Richards said.

Police did cite the 16-year-old driver, but ruled the crash was an accident.

In a statement, the Fuller family said Wednesday, "Now that the legal process has begun, it does not change our heavy hearts and the grief we feel for the Richards family and the other families affected by this accident. While we cannot fathom what they are going through, we pray for the Richards family, all of those injured, and our entire community.

"The depth of this tragedy is felt daily by our family and employees. Our pledge is to remember and our promise is to serve the community faithfully as we have for decades."

Three other young people injured in the crash have filed a lawsuit, as well.

One other person was injured in the incident.

The DuPage County state's attorney and Hinsdale police chief said it was a tragic accident, adding the driver did not intend to hurt anyone.

The Richards say they want the car wash to move to an area with less foot traffic. Sean's mother, Kristine, said she saw the whole incident, and ran to her son after he was hit, holding him, trying to get help.

"We want people responsible for Sean's death to be held accountable," Kristine Richards said.

Now Richards' parents live grieving their young son, a Boy Scout and altar boy, who they say served 9 a.m. Mass on the last full day of his life.

"We want to make sure that no other family has to go through the hell that we're living and will live the rest of our lives," Kristine Richards said.