The family of a north suburban Uber driver, allegedly killed by a 16-year-old girl with a machete last month, has filed a lawsuit against Wal-Mart for letting her leave the store without paying for the weapons.
Christina Nelson filed a wrongful death lawsuit Monday in Cook County Circuit Court on behalf of the estate of her son, Grant Nelson, against Wal-Mart, Monterrrey Security Consultants, and Allied Universal.
About 3 a.m. on May 30, 16-year-old Eliza Wasni stole the machete and knife from a display counter at the Wal-Mart at 3626 Touhy Ave. in Skokie, according to the suit. She left the store with both weapons without paying.
There were two Wal-Mart employees standing near the exit doors, and Wasni passed both but was not stopped, questioned or asked to show a receipt, according to the suit.
After leaving the store, Wasni ordered an Uber and got into a vehicle driven by the 34-year-old Nelson. Within two minutes, she began hacking at him with the machete and knife as the car approached Touhy and Lincoln in Lincolnwood.
Nelson, a Wilmette resident, told police his passenger had stabbed him before he died at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston later that morning, prosecutors said at Wasni’s bond hearing. She is being held without bond.
The suit names Wal-Mart, Allied, which provided an employee stationed at the exit whose job included monitoring individuals leaving the store; and Monterrey, which provides on-site security staff. It claims they were negligent because they failed to follow their own policies by not checking a customer leaving the store for receipts; allowed Wasni unfettered access to dangerous items; and failed to monitor her as she left.
“We continue offering our deepest condolences to Mr. Nelson’s family for their loss,” a statement from Wal-Mart spokesperson Ragan Dickens said.
“Out of respect for everyone involved, we believe it’s not appropriate to discuss the specifics of this matter, but we can say that we believe our associates acted properly, including alerting third party security to a possible shoplifting incident. We will respond appropriately with the court.”
The three-count suit seeks an unspecified amount in damages.
“We are devastated by the loss of Grant and continue to grieve. We hope his lawsuit will effectuate a review of store procedures and a realization that not following policies can have tragic consequences,” Christina Nelson, Grant Nelson’s mother, said in a statement.