Hero files suit against friend she saved

The family of a girl who saved her friend from being hit by a truck almost six years ago is now suing that friend for millions of dollars.

Kerry-Jo Klingbeil was 11 years old when she pushed Amanda Horne, then seven years old, out of the way of a tractor-trailer in Arthur, Ont., in February 1995.

Kerry-Jo was awarded the Medal of Bravery, one of Canada's highest bravery medals, in 1996.

But she had been caught beneath the wheels of the truck and suffered serious head injuries. At 17, Kerry-Jo is now disfigured and physically and mentally challenged.

The lawsuit filed by the Klingbeil family claims that Kerry-Jo has been unable to work part-time and will suffer a loss of income and economic opportunity in the future.

The claim says Kerry-Jo was "compelled" to "rescue" Amanda and that Amanda's parents failed to supervise her properly, or to teach her how to cross a road safely.

In a statement of defence, the Horne family says Kerry-Jo was not obligated to rescue Amanda and that she was injured because of her own negligence.

The Hornes also dispute the severity of Kerry-Jo's injuries in court documents.

Allen Wynperle, a Hamilton lawyer who represents Kerry-Jo and her family, says concern for the girl's future is behind the lawsuit, which was filed in 1997.

Kerry-Jo and her family are claiming $5 million in general and special damages. Their lawyer says the case came out of concern for the girl's future.

They are suing Amanda and her parents, the truck driver, its owner and the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia.

No trial date has been set, but if an out-of-court settlement isn't reached, the trial will likely go to court in 2001.