Suits filed over 2022 Kane County crash that killed siblings

The mother of two Kane County siblings killed on Halloween 2022 when the SUV they were riding in collided with a school bus near Campton Hills is suing the driver of that vehicle, as well as Central School District 301 and Kane County.

Wendy Diewald of Campton Hills, the mother of Emil, 19, and Grace Diewald, 20, is seeking at least $50,000 in damages through the lawsuit, which alleges driver Tyler Schmidt failed to yield to avoid an accident, drove too fast, failed to stop or keep a proper lookout for other vehicles and was distracted while he drove.

Surviving passenger Kiley Cox, who was 17 at the time of the crash, also is suing Schmidt, stating in court document she suffered “catastrophic injuries resulting in medical expense, pain, suffering and disability.”

Schmidt, 19, of Plato Township, faces several felonies charges in connection with the crash, including aggravated driving under the influence and reckless homicide.

Authorities say he was driving a 2013 Lexus SUV east on Empire Road near Kingswood Drive at 3:45 p.m. Oct. 31, 2022, when it struck the school bus. The bus, with 24 children aboard, was coming from Lily Lake Elementary School and had stopped to drop off students when the crash occurred, Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain said after the crash.

Grace Diewald was a front seat passenger, with her brother seated behind her. Cox was seated behind the driver, officials said. The siblings died at the scene.

The lawsuits also allege that the bus stop at 42W353 Empire Road was unsafe and contributed to the accident because it didn’t have warning signs.

Tyler Schmidt

Both Central District 301 and Kane County have filed motions asking for the lawsuits to be dismissed.

“Aside from the technical defects, the plaintiff’s complaint fails to allege facts sufficient to state a claim as to District 301 with respect to any of its paragraphs,” the school district’s attorney responded in Jan. 3 filings for both lawsuits.

In its request for dismissal, Kane County cited the Local Governmental And Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act, which it argues immunizes the county from liability in connection with an alleged failure to put up bus stop warning signs.

“Further, the County of Kane has no duty to create or monitor school bus routes or stops, as that responsibility lies with the local school district,” the county’s motion states.

The cases are due back in court April 2.

The next court date for Schmidt’s pending criminal case is March 1.

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