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Jury Orders Church in MO to Pay $22.5M in Case Involving Crash That Severely Injured a Student

U.S. money held down by a legal gavel.

A Christian County jury has ordered James River Church to pay $22.5 million in damages following the 2019 injury of man on its Ozark campus.

Cooper Heishman, a student at James River College, was reportedly hit by a car while walking at night along a public access road near the church. He and his attorney, Kansas City-based Aaron Woods, argued that the church — which police said owned the roadway — was negligent in not providing a sidewalk or adequate lighting.

The lawsuit stated that Heishman, who was 19 at the time of incident, suffered “serious, permanent and progressive physical bodily injuries to his brain, head, lungs, sternum, right tibia and right heel.”


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