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Shourds Sr. files civil suit for child’s death

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POLSON – The father of a 3-year-old boy who was killed on Thanksgiving Day last year has sued the young man who took responsibility for the child’s death. 

Phillip Shourds Sr. and the estate of Phillip Shourds Jr. filed suit on May 26 in Lake County District Court and alleged that Chasen Curley, 18, acted with reckless indifference in causing the child’s death and that all parties named in the suit acted with negligence. 

In addition to Curley, the parties include Curley’s foster parents, Cody Brown and Jasmine Courville-Brown, the Northwood Community Trailer Park (where Shourds Jr. died) and Northwood Community board members, including Mary Sherman, president, Tony Largent, vice president, Cindy Moore, treasurer, Clarence Gingras, secretary, and Richard Hunter, officer. 

The suit, which was filed by Missoula attorney Nathan Wagner, asks for damages to be determined at a jury trial. 

According to prior testimony and court documents, Curley backed up over Shourds Jr., then pulled forward and left the scene despite cries for him to stop. 

The suit says that Brown was negligent in entrusting his vehicle, a 2003 Chevy Trailblazer, to Curley on Nov. 24, 2016. 

In addition, the suit says the Northwood Community was aware Curley drove in a manner that posed a danger to the community and that he was a frequent visitor to the trailer park. The community failed to install speed bumps or other traffic control devices, and directors or officers of the Northwood Community previously confronted Curley about his dangerous driving, according to the suit. 

Curley was given a six-year deferred sentence on May 24 for an amended charge of criminal endangerment on May 24. He was originally charged with negligent homicide but received a plea agreement. Judge James A. Manley accepted the plea agreement, but also required Curley to perform 300 hours of community service and report to him monthly until further notice. 

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