Second lawsuit filed in deadly drag car crash

The father of two victims of a fatal car show accident filed two lawsuits against the city Friday, claiming officials failed to enforce rules requiring permits for parades and ignored the safety of spectators.

Drag racer Troy Critchley lost control June 16 at a Cars for Kids parade in Selmer, about 80 miles east of Memphis , plowing into the crowd and killing six people and injuring at least 23.

There were no protective barriers between the dragster and the hundreds of spectators. Authorities are investigating, and no charges have been filed.

Two lawsuits were filed Friday in McNairy County Circuit Court by Ronald Griswell, the father of two girls killed, Raven Griswell, 15, and Nicole Griswell, 19.

Leona Griswell talked to Action News 5 about the pain of losing her two teenage daughters.

"You can't describe - no - you can't describe that at all. I never told her bye. I told her I loved her and I told her it'd be ok when she got there her sister'd be there too. But I didn't tell her bye because I'll see her again," said Griswell.

One of Griswell's lawsuits is similar to another filed last week that accuses Critchley, the owner of his dragster and event organizers of negligence. Griswell's other lawsuit claims that although organizers failed to get a parade permit, police failed to enforce city law by stopping the event.

The second lawsuit accuses the city - including Mayor David Robinson, Police Chief Neal Burks and all five members of the city's Board of Aldermen - of failing to ensure the safety of spectators or to warn them of the dangers.

It seeks to permanently bar Cars for Kids or similar events from being held in Selmer, as well as unspecified compensatory damages.

The police chief said he had not been served with the lawsuit and could not comment.

A message left for City Attorney Terry Abernathy after business hours on Friday was not immediately returned.

A message left at the home of the mayor was not immediately returned.

The suit against Critchley, car owner AMS Staff Leasing Inc., event organizer Larry Price and Cars for Kids-Southern Style Inc. seeks $5 million in compensatory damages and $15 million in punitive damages.

A message left at AMS Staff Leasing, based in Texas, after business hours was not immediately returned.

Critchley, of Texas, has not spoken publicly since the accident. Price did not immediately return a message left at his home Friday.


to email Andrew Douglas.