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Family of Ugandan activist killed at US park files $270 mn claim

By AFP

Added 14th November 2020 07:51 AM

The newlywed couple had travelled to the park to celebrate the one-year anniversary of their first date.

Family of Ugandan activist killed at US park files $270 mn claim

Esther Nakajjigo was hit by a metallic gate of the Arches National Park. (File photo)

The newlywed couple had travelled to the park to celebrate the one-year anniversary of their first date.

The family of a  Ugandan activist killed in an accident over the summer at one of America's top national parks has filed a $270 million wrongful death claim.

Esther Nakajjigo, 25, was visiting Arches National Park in Utah with her French husband Ludovic Michaud in mid-June when an unsecured gate swung into the road, decapitating her as she sat in the passenger seat of their car.

The newlywed couple had travelled to the park to celebrate the one-year anniversary of their first date.

Michaud is seeking $240 million in damages from the National Park Service, while Nakajjigo's family is seeking $30 million, US media reported Friday.

"For want of an $8.00 basic padlock, our world lost an extraordinary warrior for good; a young woman influencer who was destined to become our society's future Princess Diana, philanthropist Melinda Gates or Oprah Winfrey," the claim, which is a precursor to a lawsuit, stated.

In an interview carried by CBS4 television station in Denver this week, Michaud, who lives in Colorado, said he still has flashbacks of the accident and is "trying to figure out how to move forward, how to wake up in the morning."

"What he saw and experienced that day, I cannot even imagine," Deborah Chang, an attorney representing Michaud and the Nakajjigo family, told local media. "The end of the gate impaled the car like a lance, and literally beheaded his newlywed bride right in front of him."

Nakajjigo had a huge following in her native Uganda and was involved with numerous philanthropic projects.

She was especially interested in reducing teenage pregnancy and created a reality television show to empower women.

She had come to the United States to further her education and met Michaud in June 2019 through a dating app.

The couple married in March and planned to throw a big wedding party in Uganda once the Covid-19 pandemic was over.

The National Park Service did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday, nor did Michaud's attorney.

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