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Family settles suit over accident

Kathy Mueller and her children

COURTESY OF MUELLER FAMILY
This photo of Kathy Mueller and her children was taken just days before she was injured in a freak traffic accident in June 2002.

By Debra Barayuga

dbarayuga@starbulletin.com

Kathy Mueller was a vibrant, 36-year-old stay-at-home mom caring for two young sons and her husband when she suffered extensive brain damage in a freak traffic accident two years ago.

She now depends on others for round-the-clock care.

Yesterday, Wayne Kekina, the attorney for the Muellers, announced a $6.15 million settlement with American Movers Inc. and insurance companies that her family hopes will help pay for her care and treatment in the years ahead.

"Hopefully, the money will help somewhat to get their life back in order," Kekina said.

Mueller was driving home to Waipahu on Kunia Road on June 10, 2002, when she was struck in the head by a 13-pound metal hydraulic jack head extension. The metal piece, 4- 1/2 inches by 8 inches long, was kicked up through her windshield by the rear tires of a semi-trailer hauling welding equipment from the Ewa Sugar Mill to Waialua.

A Wahiawa-bound motorist traveling behind the American Movers trailer witnessed the metal piece getting caught between the trailer's tires and being pitched into the windshield of Mueller's car.

The piece bent the steering wheel and struck her in the head before landing between the legs of 2-month-old son Parker, who was secured in his safety seat, Kekina said. The infant and his 4-year-old brother Kelby were unharmed.