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Closing arguments begin in O’Donnell parking garage case

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) — Three years ago, a 15-year-old boy was crushed by a falling concrete slab at the O’Donnell Park parking garage — and on Tuesday, November 19th closing arguments will begin.

The month-long trial wraps up after closing arguments, and the jury will have to decide whether Milwaukee County, which owns and maintains the parking structure is responsible for the death — or whether Advanced Cast Stone, the company that attached the panels to the structure is at fault.

On June 24th, 2010, the opening day of Summerfest, 15-year-old Jared Kellner was on his way to the Big Gig with friends. He was killed when a 13-and-a-half-ton concrete slab fell from the structure.

“I miss my son.  The thing I miss the most is his integrity,”

Kellner’s grief-stricken mother opened up as the garage was closed. It remained that way for months, as the County Board debated what to do — eventually deciding to remove all the panels from the structure.

For nearly three years, there were investigations and recriminations, and then in October the trial began. The Wosinski family, who was with Kellner at the time of his death on June 24th allege Advanced Cast Stone and Milwaukee County were negligent.

As the Kellner family watched inside the courtroom, the Wosinski family talked of the ongoing pain.

“When I looked behind me I could see — it looked like a wall falling off in mid-air coming down. It was a loud noise and no one knew what was going on. It crushed him. It was like a movie. It just — it just crushed them both,” Steve Wosinski said.

Wosinski’s wife, Amy had to have her left leg partially amputated as a result of the incident.

The trial has also included demonstrations from witnesses.

Reanne Bagemehl was 16 when she witnessed what nobody ever wants to see. On June 24th, she was walking from Summerfest with her friends.

That’s when Bagemehl saw a huge concrete panel fall to the ground from the O’Donnell parking structure.

A short time later, she became one of the first on the scene.

“I heard a nurse behind me scream ‘I’m a nurse, I’m a nurse’ and my immediate reaction was to run across the street and help whoever was there,” Bagemehl said.

After being asked on the stand whether some cracks in the parking garage had anything to do with the architectural panel falling from the wall, Engineer John Goetter testified that he believed they were unrelated.

Milwaukee County is suing Advanced Cast Stone and another construction company, Findorff, for more than $7 million.

Findorff already settled with the Kellners for an undisclosed amount of money.

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