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Settlement Reached in Campground Death Suit

A Sherman, Ill., family whose two youngest children were killed when a tree fell on their tent while camping near the Quad Cities three years ago has settled its lawsuit against the campground for $1.25 million, the family’s lawyers said Thursday (Oct. 20).

Four-year-old Dustin Stuebs and 9-month-old Savannah Stuebs were killed as they slept with their family in tents at Indian Trails Resort at Colona just east of the Quad Cities. The tree fell during a severe thunderstorm in July 2008, The State Journal-Register, Springfield, Ill.

“This settlement was a great alternative to a jury trial for the Stuebs family,” said Dan Kotin of the Chicago law firm Corboy & Demetrio, who along with James Dowd of St. Louis represented Jason and Christina Stuebs. “The tragedy of this event has scarred this family forever. Reliving it at trial would have been almost unbearable for all of them.”

“The settlement does nothing to ease the pain of our loss, but it will help us find closure and move forward with our lives,” Jason Stuebs said in a statement submitted by the family’s lawyer.

In their suit, filed in St. Louis County, the Stuebses alleged that the campground failed to implement any recognized tree-inspection program, which, according to a plaintiffs’ expert, would have revealed that the tree suffered from trunk rot and needed to be removed. The suit also said there was plenty of notice of the storm and that the campground failed to follow its own rules, which required campers to be evacuated into the safety of a clubhouse basement.

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