UTAH

Lawsuit against Arches National Park after incident resulting in the death of a woman

Dec 5, 2022, 8:00 PM
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A trial is underway after a woman was decapitated at Arches National Park. Her family alleges the park was negligent in not securing a gate that killed her. FILE: (Arches National Park/National Park Service)
(Arches National Park/National Park Service)

GRAND COUNTY, Utah — A trial is underway after a woman was decapitated at Arches National Park. The woman’s family alleges the park was negligent in not locking down the gate that rammed through her car.

Esther Nakajjigo, 25, and her husband had recently married. They were visiting the park in June 2020 when a strong gust of wind swung out the arm of a hinged gate. The gate moved so fast that it went into the car and hit Nakajjigo in the head, barely missing her husband and killing her instantly.

Now, her husband is suing the Park Service for not locking the gate into place. The lawsuit alleges that the gate was supposed to be secured by park employees. A notice of claim says the family is seeking $270 million.

Nakajjigo was a Ugandan humanitarian who had started a nonprofit community health center for girls, using money she was saving for her own college education. She was doing an internship in Colorado at the time.

The trial started Monday, Dec. 5, with multiple witnesses expected to take the stand. It will last through the week.

Devin Oldroyd contributed to this story.

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Lawsuit against Arches National Park after incident resulting in the death of a woman