A year after computer engineering freshman Jordan Grant’s death in a car accident, his parents have filed a lawsuit in San Luis Obispo Superior Court against the driver and jurisdictions associated with the intersection of the crash.
This lawsuit comes after driver Richard Giuli was charged with a single count of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence. Giuli was sentenced to 18 months of probation and will not serve any jail time.
Jordan’s parents James and Rebecca Grant advocated throughout last year to restrict left-hand turns at El Campo Road and three other Highway 101 crossings. The crossing were closed in May 2019 by Caltrans.
“We have to look beyond that and say ‘Why did it happen, who is responsible for Jordan’s death, and are there other crossings of the 101 that failed to be addressed that are waiting for the next Jordan to be killed?’” Jordan’s father, James Grant said.
The civil complaint in San Luis Obispo Superior Court names the State of California, County of San Luis Obispo, the City of Arroyo Grande, San Luis Obispo Council of Governments and the driver Richard Giuli.
The lawsuit states each party was negligent in maintaining the intersection. The complaint alleges that Giuli was negligent in operating the vehicle that caused the crash.
A 2009 Caltrans traffic study found that the median closure would “reduce the number of broadside collisions” at the El Campo intersection with minimal traffic impacts. However, public opposition at the time left the crossing open.
“[Caltrans] proved to themselves that it was a dangerous intersection, that it needed to be closed, and that they got state funding for the intersection to be closed. They said if they didn’t close it, there would be severe broadside collisions in the future that would result in injuries and deaths, which is exactly what happened to Jordan,” James Grant said.
Jordan was traveling south on Highway 101 on Oct. 7, 2018 to watch a launch at Vandenberg Air Force Base when Giuli, crossing at El Campo Road, hit his motorcycle.
Jordan was pronounced dead at the scene. Giuli was uninjured.