Family of 14-year-old scout killed by tree sues Boy Scouts
ATLANTA (FOX 5 Atlanta) - The parents of a 14-year-old Boy Scout from Texas who was killed by a falling tree in Georgia have filed a civil lawsuit over his death in Cobb County.
Stephen and Courtney Knight, the parents of Elijah Knight, are suing the Boy Scouts of America and the Atlanta Area Council. Inc. Boy Scouts of America for wrongful death, saying that the Boy Scouts "ignored weather advisories."
Elijah Knight was killed when a tree fell on his tent at the Bert Adams Scout Camp, located about 8 miles south of Covington, on June 25, 2018. Authorities say Knight and his tent mate were both in the tent during the storm.
“Having joined the horrible club of parents who have lost a child, and especially the community of parents whose child died in a scouting event, we hope to make systemic safety improvements that will preserve and protect the lives of many other children in the future,” said Elijah’s father Stephen Knight said in a statement. “We hope to see a new level of safety standards, so no other family has to go through the same anguish.”
The lawsuit cites multiple other deaths at the scout camp, one in 1999 of a Cobb County father and son, and another in 2017 of a teenager.
"The Boy Scouts of America ignored weather advisories issued by the National Weather Service, including a Severe Thunderstorm Warning which was in effect at the time of Elijah’s death," the lawsuit says. "Because the Boy Scouts did not evacuate all campers to a nearby building, Elijah Knight was left outdoors in a canvas tent during a hazardous storm with strong winds, lightning and hail."
The family is seeking damages for funeral expenses and pain and suffering as well as punitive damages.
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At the time of the scout's death, Tracy Techau, Scout Executive, and CEO, Atlanta Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America which operates the camp, was quoted as saying in a statement sent to FOX 5 Atlanta:
“This is a very difficult time for our Scouting family. We are sad to confirm the death of one of our Scouts following a weather-related incident at Bert Adams Scout Camp. We offer our deepest condolences to the victim and his family, and we will support them in any way that we can. Please join us in keeping all those affected in your thoughts and prayers.”
Elijah was from Cypress Texas and was attending the fourth and final week of the camp.