Family files lawsuit with multiple parties at blame for daughter's death

LEAGUE CITY, Texas (KTRK) -- The family of a League City girl killed after being rear-ended by an alleged drunk driver is now suing not only the driver, but one of the automakers.

Kelsey Nalepa, 8, was killed in the wreck April 6 on FM 518.

Kelsey was wearing a seat belt in the back seat of the 2009 Ford Expedition, behind her father who was driving, according to investigators. The force of the impact caused the driver's seat to fail, her family attorney said.

"The seat collapsed backwards and went backwards into her and her head hit the back of the seat," said Alton C. Todd, an attorney representing the Nalepa family.

Nalepa's mother and father are suing Erika Diebel. She was arrested Thursday, detectives say, after blood alcohol tests measured her at .249 at the time of the wreck - more than three times the legal limit. She's repeatedly refused comment since her arrest.

On Thursday night, she ran from our cameras after bonding out of jail.

The Nalepa family has also named Ford Motor Company in the suit, alleging negligence in the Expedition's design and manufacturing, calling the seats dangerous.

"It's our feeling that child safety is everybody's responsibility. Our children (are) depending upon us," said Todd.

Last month, a San Antonio jury awarded $124 million to the family of a little boy who was critically injured in a 2012 wreck where his father's Audi was rear-ended and the driver's seat failed.

The Nalepa family is hoping to keep this sort of tragedy from happening again.

"If this litigation avoids any other family anywhere from having to go through what this family is going through, it's worth it," said Todd.

A spokesperson for Ford Motor Company didn't know about this lawsuit, which was filed late Thursday. They say they don't comment on pending litigation.

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