Local News

Feb 14, 2014 7:06 PM by Janine Reyes

Lawsuit Settlement Leads to Safety Measures in Busy Parking Lot

CORPUS CHRISTI -- Earlier this week, the family of a 3-year-old boy hit and killed in the Chuck E. Cheese's parking lot reached a settlement agreement with the management company that owns the lot.

They say this agreement will make the place safer for families across the Coastal Bend. The video showing the tragic death of 3-year-old Eli Rodriguez is heartbreaking for anyone.

He's seen getting out of a car and dashing across the Chuck E. Cheese's parking lot looking forward to fun.

"Eli had a hand full of tokens when he was hit, and they were splashed all over the pavement," attorney Robert Hilliard said.

Police never cited the driver who hit him, they say she's not to blame. "It could have been anybody driving through there, she wasn't speeding, she was in an F150, she was devastated by what happened," Hilliard told us.

She's so devastated that she now wears a bracelet to remember the toddler she never met.

Hilliard showed us an animation that demonstrates a much different scenario with the lot where Eli died upgraded with safety measures. He showed the difference with speed bumps, signs and pedestrian striping in the lot that shows little Eli making it safely across the lot.

"This parking lot is where kids who are very excited are trying to get inside Chuck E. Cheese's and parents are trying to corral other kids and bring gifts in so sooner or later something could happen," Hilliard explained.

Making matters worse in the lot is that the traffic in the Chuck E. Cheese's parking lot does not just come from Chuck E. Cheese's, but also from an adjoining parking lot with 300 spaces.

"Some of those folks may have been at Slick Willies Pool Hall, they may have been and Specks and may not even know that the lot is for Chuck E. Cheese's," Hilliard said.

The hope is that with these new safety measures, another tragedy like Eli's won't happen again. He says these safety measures are in place at the nearby H.E.B and even at the Chuck E. Cheese's in San Antonio.

"This family could have been any family at any given moment in the course of raising kids a child might dart away from a parent," Hilliard told us.

The property management company is working with traffic engineers on those improvements now, they should be installed within 30 days.

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