Families file suit over Washington Boulevard flood deaths

The families of the four who drowned in the 2011 flash flood on Washington Boulevard have filed suit against the city of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority and PennDOT, alleging they failed to make recommended corrections to fix chronic flooding problems on the road.

Kimberly Griffith and her daughters Brenna and Mikaela, of Plum, died when their minivan was deluged after floodwater rose to nine feet on the road during a massive storm on Aug. 19. Mary Saflin was swept from her car and drowned.

In the suit, the families claim the government ignored flooding problems on the boulevard, even though a woman drowned in much the same way in 1951.

"For more than 60 years, defendants ... have permitted a man-made 'Drowning Pool' to exist in the 13-foot 'basin' at the bottom of Washington Boulevard," the complaint reads.

"Four people died in a flood that never should have happened," attorney Alan Perer said today in a news conference.

Chrysler Group LLC, which made the minivan the Griffith family was driving, is also named in the suit because the electronic locks on the car did not function when the car was underwater, locking the family inside, according to the suit.

The suit was filed today in the Allegheny Count Court of Common Pleas.

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Moriah Balingit: mbalingit@post-gazette.com, 412-263-2533 or on Twitter @MoriahBee. First Published February 1, 2013 5:00 PM


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