The mother of a Kansas City teen fatally struck by a U.S. Postal Service van won a judgment of more than $2.9 million against the federal government.
Tony White, 15, died on July 1, 2020, when he was run over on East 20th Street in Kansas City while riding his bicycle. White’s family alleged that Shaniel Barnes, the postal carrier driving the van, was on her cell phone at the time of the crash and was distracted.
According to the judgment entered by Judge Fernando J. Gaitan Jr., Barnes — who died of unrelated causes later in 2020 — didn’t brake and continued driving for several seconds with the bike under her van before stopping.
Gaitan found no evidence, as the government argued, that White had entered the road from a hidden alley or that the bike’s brakes were defective. He noted that Barnes herself had never made such claims and that she’d initially told police she had seen tennis shoes in the roadway and swerved to avoid them.