Family of woman who died after car plunged into Escondido pool files lawsuit against county

ESCONDIDO, Calif. - The family of a woman who was killed when the car she was riding in plunged into a swimming pool has filed suit against the county.

"She's my first thought from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed," said Kara Laxson.

A mother's grief has turned into frustration, fuel for a legal fight.

Last June, a car ended up flipped upside down in a swimming pool at a home west of Escondido.

According to the California Highway Patrol, the car was speeding around a bend on Calavo Drive – which is known as "rollercoaster road" – before losing control and plunging into the pool. Passenger Ashley Garcia, 25, died several days later.

"It's a nightmare," said Laxson, Garcia's mother.

In December, 10News spoke with Laxson, who has now filed a lawsuit against the county.

Attorney Dan Gilleon concedes the driver was speeding, but says the road is a deadly invitation to speed.

"They knew it was a dangerous condition, and they decided to ignore it," said Gilleon.

His research reveals about 10 crashes near the site in the last eight years, including one that has put Bill Miller, the owner of that backyard pool, in a wheelchair since 2008.

"All the bones in my foot were broken," said Miller. "The tendons and cartilage were also damaged."

Miller was in a golf cart driving across the road when a speeding car broadsided him.

"It's a killer road," he said. "They come in 50, 60, 70 miles per hour, trying to get their wheels off the ground."

A few months ago, he said the county agreed to put small bumps, known as speed deterrents, but the speeds have not slowed down.

"We hear the cars' brakes screaming all the time," said Miller. "Last week, a car landed and busted its gas tank."

Miller and other neighbors are asking for full speed bumps.

Laxson wants the road regraded to reduce the rollercoaster effect. It is a costly solution, but others point to the cost of doing nothing.

The county has declined to comment on the case because of the lawsuit.

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