Family files wrongful death lawsuit against town after high school basketball star killed

UNIONDALE, Long Island (WABC) -- The family of a high school basketball star from Long Island is filing a $150 million wrongful death lawsuit against the town of Hempstead and other government entities.

Lawyers say 15-year-old Jomani JoJo Wright would be alive today if the town and others had taken care of the road the teen died on. But instead, they say the neglect in communities of color cost the teen his life.

"Why was my kid unsafe? How come my kid didn't come home," Joseph Wright said.

Jomani Wright should have been safe and should have come home from a basketball workout in January, but tragically, the car he was riding in was T-boned - sending it crashing into a pole. And JoJo didn't make it home.

"How does a parent get that phone call?" Wright said. "How are you at work and your wife calls you crying because your son is gone. Your youngest baby is gone."

On Wednesday afternoon, at the intersection of Maple and Front, where JoJo was killed, the family and friends of the Uniondale basketball star gathered with their attorneys.

They announced a wrongful death lawsuit against the Town of Hempstead for failure to maintain the intersection.



"This dangerous, defective death trap at Front Street and Maple Avenue, here in the town of Hempstead was known by everybody," said civil rights attorney Ben Crump.
Since the wreck, a stop sign has been installed at the intersection, but the family says the improvement doesn't go far enough.

"We're calling on the town and all municipalities to make sure that those infrastructure dollars that President Biden talked about just two days ago," said family attorney Heather M. Palmore. "That the communities of color are made a priority."

In response to Wednesday's filing, the town of Hempstead said: "The town does not comment on ongoing litigation."

"How many more kids are going to have to die? Are we going to be here again? It's a simple fix," Wright said.

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