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Lawsuit alleges city of Billings aware of dangers at intersection where girl was killed in crash

Virginia and Rimrock.jpg
Posted at 11:05 PM, Oct 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-21 10:28:02-04

The family of the girl killed in the tragic February accident on Virginia and Rimrock has filed a lawsuit against the city, alleging negligence.

On Feb. 2 a pickup truck hit a Toyota Camry that Christine Croft was driving with their sister Emma as a passenger.

The intersection of Virginia Lane and Rimrock Road was not on their normal route.

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KTVQ photo

"We had gotten a call from Billings Clinic," said Michelle Croft, mother of Christine, who was killed, and Emma. "Emma had been in a car accident, and so we tried finding out where Christine was, and we kind of have a system with our kids that if you don't answer and I ping your phone with Find My Phone, that that's your cue that you need to answer now. Call me back. So, she, she wasn't returning that. And finally, a fireman answered and told me so I called my husband while he was on his way to the crash site and he was able to tell him before he got there."

Now Croft and her family are seeking justice by filing a lawsuit alleging negligence on the part of the city of Billings and the driver of the pickup truck.

"Just trying to figure out the best way to move forward for our family and the best way to honor Christine and Emma," Croft said.

The suit states the city was aware that the intersection was unsafe and dangerous and knew the line of sight distance for motorists at the intersection did not comply with recognized roadway intersection design standards.

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KTVQ photo

"The wall went up right around 2008," Colton said. "And that's of course when the concerns first started. We had reached out to representatives of the city, and made a claim, which is required under the law when you're suing a municipality. And unfortunately, the response to that claim has been rather dismissive."

Q2 News contacted city officials Wednesday afternoon and has not yet heard back.

Just a few weeks ago, crews put up traffic signals at the intersection.

The city said in February the signals had been in the works for months, and not in response to the crash.

"We kind of felt like our girls are the sacrificial lambs for this," Croft said. "This needed to be addressed a long time ago."

"There are other dangerous intersections in the city and the city has their identified list and they need to act more quickly," Colton said.

Croft and Colton talked about the loss of Christine Croft, who was 17 years old when she died.

Colton did not know Christine but has learned about her through the lawsuit.

"You can see she was a girl of great faith," Colton said. "And that faith that she had guided her in how she presented at school, how she presented with her family. It's a loss for all of us and we feel is very preventable, was absolutely preventable."

"She was a good kid," Croft said. "A lot to offer. This is going to be every day for us for the rest of our lives, you know. We move forward without her every day."

Read the lawsuit here.