Ore. family files $30 mil. suit in crash that put woman in vegetative state

PORTLAND, Ore. - The family of a Gresham mother, who is in a vegetative state for now more than four years after a crash, is suing Clackamas County and the city of Portland.

The question is whether the driver, Jack Whiteaker, who crashed his jeep into Cayla Wilson in April 2010, should have ever been on the road.

There are two claims in the lawsuit that seeks $30 million - $10 million just for medical care - that say a probation officer and a police officer didn't do their jobs and Wilson had to pay for it.

Wilson was pregnant at the time of the crash and later gave birth to a girl. She underwent an emergency cesarean section.

It was emotional Wednesday during the nearly two hours of opening statements by the family's attorney, Greg Kafoury, showing 19-year-old Wilson before the crash and then video of how her family must care for her now.

The family says the first major mistake was by a Clackamas County probation officer who they say was negligent and "did nothing" to supervise Whiteaker for months before the wreck.

"He was scheduled for five different drug evaluations. He blew off every one of them," said Kafoury. "Her employer, Clackamas County, were negligent and that it was a foreseeable risk that Whiteaker, unsupervised, out of control, a drug addict, would find a way to hurt somebody."

The second claim against Portland police and Officer Devonna Dick, who responded to two 911 calls the night of the accident and, despite noticing he was "manic" and "probably on something," and knowing also he had a suspended license and was in violation of probation, did not arrest Whiteaker. Two hours later Whiteaker hit Wilson.

Opening arguments from attorneys for the Clackamas County probation officer and the Portland police officer will likely be on Thursday.

The family filed another claim on behalf of Wilson's now 4-year-old daughter who, while born after the crash, now has developmental problems from her injuries.

Whiteaker was sentenced to 11 years in prison.