Beaufort News

Hilton Head Island teen injured in fatal 2011 car crash sues driver's father

Kendall Walton, a student at Hilton Head Prep, died after her car hit a tree.
Kendall Walton, a student at Hilton Head Prep, died after her car hit a tree. Photo by Christian Lee

A teenage passenger injured a 2011 car crash that killed the driver and hospitalized three other passengers has filed a lawsuit against the driver's father, seeking compensation for medical bills and punitive damages.

Megan Shepherd filed suit June 4 against Ken Walton, the father of the late Kendall Walton, according to Beaufort County court records.

The lawsuit alleges that Kendall Walton drove negligently and recklessly, and that her father was negligent in allowing her to drive. The suit also says Shepherd suffered serious, permanent injuries from the crash.

Shepherd's mother, Virginia Walsh, was added as a plaintiff June 10.

Walton and Walsh both declined to comment on the lawsuit Thursday.

Shepherd was one of four teenagers hurt when Walton, 17, lost control of her BMW sedan and struck a tree on Indigo Run Drive on Nov. 27, 2011. Walton died in the crash, and all four passengers were hospitalized.

The lawsuit did not describe Shepherd's injuries. Her attorney, Bert Utsey of Walterboro, declined to provide specifics Thursday, citing privacy issues. He also declined to comment on the lawsuit because it is ongoing.

No information about Shepherd's injuries were released at the time of the crash because she was a minor, according to a hospital spokesman. She was released from the hospital within days.

A Beaufort County Sheriff's Office investigation revealed Walton had purchased alcohol with an ID that did not belong to her a few hours before the crash.

One of the crash victims, Jacob Schultz, told investigators he, Walton, and another crash victim, Nate Riley, drank liquor in Walton's car as she drove around the island two hours before the crash, according to a report from the Sheriff's Office. Friends of Walton also told investigators she had been drinking the afternoon of the accident.

Schultz was the first victim released from the hospital but required outpatient treatment for spinal, neck and hip injuries, his mother, Lisa Bragg, said two weeks after the crash. The accident fractured Riley's arms, right leg and face, according to his father, Hilton Head Island town manager Steve Riley.

Shortly after the crash, Ken Walton set up a memorial fund in his daughter's name to help pay the medical bills of the injured passengers, but an assistant at the office of The Walton Company, Walton's component manufacturing firm, said Thursday the fund received only about $2,000 in donations. All of that money went to the family of Maggie Deery, who was paralyzed in the crash, the assistant said. Deery suffered spinal-cord and brain injuries that required a stay in an Atlanta hospital for rehabilitation.

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  1. Teen driver killed in wreck on Hilton Head bought alcohol found in car, Dec. 16, 2011
  2. Teens who survived fatal wreck continue recovery, Dec. 1, 2011
  3. Hilton Head crash leaves 1 teen dead, 4 injured, Nov. 18, 2011
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