Father of Youth Alive victims files lawsuit


by Adam Walser


Posted on November 24, 2009 at 5:25 PM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 24 at 6:26 PM

A man has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the former Louisville organization called “Youth Alive”. The father of three teens killed last December while getting a ride home from a Youth Alive event says several of the organization’s staff members are to blame.

The father says despite suing Youth Alive, he believes in what the organization did for young people before it was forced to close its doors.

And he hopes that if his suit prevails, he will be able to open a similar program to help other at risk children in Louisville.

“We would have probably been done by now,” Marc Hampton said, pointing to the renovations underway at his home on South 26th St.

It was one of the first times he had returned there since his sons Jemar, Demar and Marc Claybrooks died.

“Me and my kids, we did a lot of projects together, built a lot of things. work on a lot of things,” Hampton said. “It's just hard to come back here.”

On December 18th last year, the three boys died in a car crash while getting a ride home from a Youth Alive event.

The 16-year-old they were riding with, Herbert Lee, didn't have a license and was driving a stolen car.

Lee crashed while fleeing from police, killing the Claybrooks brothers and another Youth Alive member, Aaron Shields.

On Monday, Hampton filed a lawsuit against Youth Alive, seeking unspecified damages.
In the suit, he alleges that staff members were negligent when they allowed his sons to get into the car with Lee.

“They made a grave mistake, trust me. I hurt and cry every day over it. But at the same time, though, they did provide an outlet in the community for children,” said Hampton.

Youth Alive closed its doors after its insurance company canceled its policy.

Now the company that issued an umbrella policy to Youth Alive is suing the organization in federal court, claiming it is not responsible for payment.

But Hampton believes the insurance company should have to pay.

“I'd like to get paid where I could have Youth Alive reopened up. It's not where I could go buy a new car or anything like that. It's to fund another Youth Alive program,” said Hampton.

Hampton believes that for his suit to prevail, a judge will have to rule against the insurance company.

In the meantime, he hopes to finish the home renovations.

“I'm definitely gonna try to finish for the sake of my kids,” he said.

Even though Youth Alive Director Kenny Boyd was named in the lawsuit, Hampton said that if he prevails, he would want Boyd to return to run a new youth center.

Meanwhile, a memorial to all the victims has been scheduled to take place at 10 am on the anniversary of the crash at the crash site.