COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A woman who was seriously injured during a fireworks-related incident in a school parking lot on July 4, 2018 is suing the school district and the security business contracted by the district for negligence, resulting in $1.3 million in hospital bills and counting.
The lawsuit, filed in the Fifth Judicial Circuit Court of Common Pleas in Charleston on Oct. 23, Leah and Jonathan McCleskey are suing Richland 1 School District and Sizemore, Inc., the owners of Sizemore Security and will seek a jury trial to award an amount for damages and legal fees.
The couple claims that a Sizemore security guard was on the premises of Hand Middle School on July 4, 2018, and did nothing to stop the crowd gathered there from shooting fireworks to celebrate.
Leah McCleskey says in the suit that when she and her 4-year-old son were going to light a few sparklers, a mortar-style firework exploded.
Shrapnel and other materials from the firework struck McCleskey in the arms, torso, legs, and caused her legs and clothing to catch fire. She had third-degree burns which caused her to spend more than 40 days at the Augusta Burn Center.
The multiple surgeries and the extended hospital stay have also come to $1.3 million in hospital bills and counting, with more surgeries and doctor’s visits expected.
The couple says that a Sizemore security guard asked the Jonathan to sign “an unidentified document” as Leah was being put into an ambulance.
Sizemore Security has been contracted by the Richland 1 School District since 2013 when the district opened bidding for the contract. The lawsuit also says Sizemore Security handled the security “for over 15 years at the time the District released its invitation to bid” for district-wide private security, the suit says.
The McCleskeys say that the Sizemore Security guard on duty at Hand Middle School that night failed to provide a safe environment by allowing the events to happen or call law enforcement. The suit also claims security personnel was aware that yearly July 4 gatherings happened there for years without intervention.
You can see the full lawsuit here. WARNING: Photos in the document may be graphic for some, as they show her injuries.