Wrongful death lawsuit filed in pond drowning death of 73 year old mother

CARMEL, Ind.—The family of a 73-year old woman who drowned in a retention pond has filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Hamilton County court against a grocery store, developer and healthcare center.

Nancy Gillett went missing in the early morning hours on February 27 after leaving Bridgewater Healthcare Center on Carey Road in Carmel, prompting a statewide Silver Alert.

Divers recovered Nancy Gillett’s Mitsubishi Eclipse from a retention pond on Carey Road just north of 146th street on March 6.

Gillett’s body was inside the car.

Indianapolis attorney Dan Chamberlain of law firm Cohen and Malad filed a lawsuit Tuesday afternoon on behalf of Gillett’s grown children, Michael Arnett and Lara Wickliff.

According to the lawsuit, while attempting to exit Bridgewater Healthcare Center parking lot, Nancy Gillett steered her vehicle off the access road onto the retention pond embankment, plunged into the water and drowned.

Both of her grown children, Arnett and Wickliff, were on the scene as emergency personnel retrieved their mother’s body, according to the lawsuit, and suffered severe emotional distress as a result.

Arnett and Wickliff are suing Lakes Venture LLC, Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, Throgmartin-Henke Development, Lauth Group, Carey Leasing Co LLC and Bridgewater Healthcare Center.

The lawsuit alleges the defendants owned, maintained or controlled the commercial center including the access road and retention pond.

“As a result of the defendant's cumulative negligence, Nancy was killed,” read the lawsuit.

The suit alleges the pond did not have proper signage or safety barriers to prevent someone from going into the pond.

“Defendants failed to do anything to protect the health, well being and care for persons of all ages,” read the lawsuit. “The retention pond and adjacent access roadway were unreasonably dangerous, without safety measures, guarding, or warnings of any kind on the particular portion where Nancy’s vehicle left the roadway, careened down the steep embankment and disappeared from sight or detection.”

The lawsuit goes on to say the parking lot lacked lighting, reflectors, lane paintings or demarcations, directional signage, curbing, gravel edging or transitional material, or barrier that served to warn of the road’s edge or prevent her vehicle from going into the water.

READ | Family members losing hope they'll find missing Westfield woman alive

Call 6 Investigates is working to get responses from the companies named in the lawsuit.

Fred Stratmann, attorney for Bridgewater Healthcare Center’s operator CommuniCare Family of Companies.

The lawsuit seeks punitive damages “for the reckless, careless, willful and wanton misconduct on behalf of the Defendant’s cumulative failure to recognize the probable loss of life by its negligent design and maintenance of the property at issue.”

Attorney Dan Chamberlain filed a similar lawsuit earlier this year in the retention pond drowning death of an Indianapolis father.

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