Family of woman decapitated by metal gate at Utah national park sue for ... trends now

Family of woman decapitated by metal gate at Utah national park sue for ... trends now
Family of woman decapitated by metal gate at Utah national park sue for ... trends now

Family of woman decapitated by metal gate at Utah national park sue for ... trends now

The trial for a woman who was decapitated by a metal gate at a Utah National Park began on Monday as her family seeks $140 million in damages and accused rangers of negligence. 

Esther Nakajjigo, 25, died on a windy spring 2020 day when a piece of a metal gate from Utah's Arches National Park broke through the passenger door and decapitated her - and now her husband Ludovic Michaud is demanding justice. 

Michaud was driving the car when Nakajjigo died and has joined her family to sue the U.S. Park Service for not maintaining the park gates.  

At the opening trial, an attorney representing Nakajigo claimed that she had a bright future as an activist for women's rights and would've gone on to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars if she didn't die. 

United States attorneys did not dispute that park officials shouldered blame but argued the amount the family should be awarded is far less and called into questions the ways in which the damages being sought were calculated.

Esther Nakajjigo (above), 25, and her husband Ludovic Michaud were driving through Utah's Arches National Park on a windy 2020 day when a piece of the gate broke through the window

Esther Nakajjigo (above), 25, and her husband Ludovic Michaud were driving through Utah's Arches National Park on a windy 2020 day when a piece of the gate broke through the window 

Nakajjigo and Michaud were passing through the gates when the accident occurred. Pictured: the gates that led to Nakajjigo's death

Nakajjigo and Michaud were passing through the gates when the accident occurred. Pictured: the gates that led to Nakajjigo's death 

A piece of the metal gate tore off and went through the passenger door where Nakajjigo was sitting

A piece of the metal gate tore off and went through the passenger door where Nakajjigo was sitting 

The metal appeared to have ripped off this pole

The metal appeared to have ripped off this pole 

Michaud launched a lawsuit against U.S. Park Service following the death of his wife

Michaud launched a lawsuit against U.S. Park Service following the death of his wife 

The pair had just tied the knot when they took a trip to the national park

The pair had just tied the knot when they took a trip to the national park 

The claim related to the death of Nakajjigo asserts that if parks service workers had simply padlocked the gate open, it never would have swung free and pierced her car

The claim related to the death of Nakajjigo asserts that if parks service workers had simply padlocked the gate open, it never would have swung free and pierced her car

In opening statements Monday in Salt Lake City, attorneys representing Michaud and Nakajjigo's family said they were seeking $140 million in damages from the government.

The family's lawsuit claims when the national parks reopened in April 2020 after being shuttered due to COVID-19, rangers at the national park in Utah didn't secure the gate in place, which in effect 'turned a metal pipe into a spear that went straight through the side of a car, decapitating and killing Esther Nakajjigo.' 

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