Family sues Lakeville School District for 2015 'Nerf Wars' crash deaths

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It’s been just over three years since a game of "Nerf Wars" turned deadly in Lakeville.

It’s a tragedy that’s led to several lawsuits and now the driver is joining the families of the deceased in suing the school district claiming school officials knew about the game and could have stopped it.

In December 2015, 17-year-old Jake Flynn and 18-year-old Johnny Price were killed in a rollover crash. Authorities say the carload of teenagers were playing a game of Nerf wars when the driver, Alexander Hughes, lost control of the vehicle.

Now, Hughes is suing the Lakeville School District claiming they could have done more to stop it.

“Unfortunately, there were people there who claimed they didn’t know anything and clearly they did,” Attorney Michael Bryant said.

The lawsuit cites Nerf Wars’ Twitter accounts that were followed by teachers and administrators. Also, an email from the activities director expressed concern over the safety of the game.

Yet, Hughes’ attorney says the school never intervened.

“If the kids were all drinking at school, the school would do something about that,” said Bryant. “And they wouldn’t just say, ‘Well, that’s not our fault. We’re not involved in that.’”

The school district maintains that the game was not school sanctioned and occurred off campus and that Hughes admitted in testimony to being distracted. An investigation also showed he was speeding.

“He’s stood up and admitted what he’s done and his role in it as far as it happened,” Bryant said. “He didn’t say, ‘This didn’t happen. I wasn’t involved,’ the way the school has. And there’s plenty of examples that the school knew about it."

Bryant says he hopes lives could have been saved had the district stepped in.

“You hope so,” he said. “And that’s the basis for the claim.”

Lakeville Public Schools released the following statement:

Lakeville Schools are part of the fabric of the Lakeville community and we continue to grieve for the loss of Jacob Flynn and John Price and are sympathetic to Alex Hughes for the injuries caused when he lost control of his pickup truck. However, the auto accident that claimed Jacob and John and resulted in Alex’s injuries was in no way connected to a sanctioned or supported school activity, in fact the single vehicle rollover accident was over two miles away from the school after school was over for the week and appears to have been caused by the driving conduct of Alex Hughes and the behavior of the other young men in the pickup. Therefore there is no liability or fault on behalf of Lakeville Schools.