Suit blames Kent School for injuries suffered by student who crashed on bike ride
KENT — A federal lawsuit accuses the Kent School of improperly training and outfitting a former student who crashed during a school-sponsored bicycle ride, putting him in the hospital for nearly three months.
The suit, filed by the mother of Danilo Bracho, who was a freshman at the boarding school in 2016, said he is a novice bicyclist who was given a poorly maintained bike to ride when he took part in a ride organized by a teacher.
The family seeks more than $75,000 in damages, according to the complaint filed Jan. 3 in U.S. District Court.
Kent School officials did not respond to requests for comment. They have 21 days from the filing date of the complaint to respond, according to court records.
The school requires all students to enroll in an outdoor activity, the suit said, and the only requirement for road biking was students have their own bike and helmet.
Bracho, who came to the school from Portugal, did not have his own bike, so English teacher and activity overseer John Hinman lent him a pre-owned De Bernardi bicycle that was the wrong size and poorly maintained, “in addition to being an old frame with old parts.”
On Bracho’s first ride, both tires went flat, the suit said, and one flattened on his second.
Then, on April 21, 2016, when Bracho fell behind fellow riders during a ride along on Bull’s Bridge Road, he failed to navigate a tight curve midway down on a steep hill and crashed into a tree. He suffered a brain hemorrhage, organ damage, a broken arm and leg and several other injuries, the lawsuit said.
After the crash, Bracho was flown by helicopter to Hartford for emergency care, and stayed in the hospital nearly three months. He has had 19 surgeries and more are likely, according to the lawsuit.
When a state trooper went to the crash site, the suit said, Hinman told him Bracho was a novice rider but expressed surprise he had crashed.
“It is not dangerous for an experienced rider,” the suit quotes Hinman as saying.
The lawsuit claims Bracho’s injuries were caused by the the school’s negligence, the school failed to inform him fully about the risks, failed to supervise him properly and allowed him to use an “unsafe” bike.
“Kent School owed Danilo a duty of care, it breached that duty in multiple ways,” the lawsuit said.
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