KINGMAN, Ariz. — The death of a teenager and the severe injury of her younger sister in a 120-foot plunge into an abandoned mine in northwest Arizona a year ago is now the subject of litigation.
Las Vegas attorney Bradley Booke filed a wrongful death lawsuit Aug. 18 in Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix, after the claim he previously lodged drew no response from defendants named in the action.
A Labor Day weekend off-road excursion ended tragically on Sept. 1, 2007, when the ATV ridden by Rikki Jean Howard, 13, and her sister, Casie Rae Hicks, who was 10 at the time, dropped deep into the Brighter Days Mine near the rural community of Chloride.
Howard died of multiple blunt force trauma injuries; Hicks was the subject of a lengthy ordeal that ended with her rescue and extraction from the mine nearly 13 hours after the accident.
Hicks suffered multiple fractures, required surgery and spent five days in critical condition in the pediatric intensive care unit of University Medical Center in Las Vegas. Both the claim and the lawsuit ask for $13.9 million for expenses and suffering associated with her injuries and her sister’s death.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Caroline Booker, the mother of the girls. Included as defendants are the State of Arizona and the owning interest in the mine, Magnum Resources Ltd, and officer-agent Loraine Prescott.
The lawsuit cites a recent Bureau of Land Management report that indicated the Brighter Days Mine was assigned a high danger rating during an assessment of abandoned mines that the agency conducted in the late 1990s. It alleges negligence for failure to prohibit access to the site or post notice to warn the public of danger.