PENDLETON, Ore. (AP) — A young woman from Idaho who sustained a traumatic brain injury in a 2018 van crash while traveling to a Christian conference in Portland, Oregon with her youth group is suing the church and the youth pastor who was driving the van.
Leona Ranstrom alleges in the lawsuit filed in Umatilla County, Oregon that she was unable to finish her freshman year of college due to her brain injury and has cognitive deficiencies and difficulty with daily activities, the East Oregonian reported Thursday.
She is seeking $750,000 in damages, including money for medical expenses and tuition reimbursement.
Ranstrom was one of 11 passengers in the van from River City Church in Lewiston, Idaho when it crashed near Hermiston, Oregon. Nine people were injured in the wreck and two were hospitalized.
The driver, Largent Reeb, of Lewiston, Idaho, pleaded no contest to a citation for failing to travel within a lane and was convicted two days after the crash. He was 28 at the time and is currently listed on the church’s website as a youth pastor, the newspaper reported.
Reeb failed to negotiate a lane change while trying to merge onto Interstate 84 from Interstate 82 and the van slid off the exit ramp and rolled, the newspaper reported.
Representatives from River City Church did not respond to a request for comment.