KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs are facing a lawsuit, claiming that it didn’t provide proper security for fans both in and outside Arrowhead Stadium.
The suit stems from the 2013 death of Kyle Van Winkle.
Van Winkle returned to Lot A during December 1, 2013's Chiefs game vs. the Denver Broncos. His attorney says the new father may have been tired and ended up getting into the wrong Jeep during the game. The Jeep’s owner found him passed out in his car, and sent his son to get help.
“The young boy went to find help but couldn’t find anybody other than as he put it, a bunch of drunk fans doing the tomahawk chop,” attorney Bill Carr said.
One of the people who responded was Joshua Bradley, who wasn't in the stadium parking lot to attend the game, according to the suit. It’s unclear what time he got to the Arrowhead Stadium parking lot, but the lawsuit points out the Chiefs opened it up to fans five hours before kickoff.
“They’ve essentially created a multi-acre bar out there at Arrowhead Stadium parking lots with no security, no bouncers, no restrictions on what kind of alcohol they are serving, how much alcohol is being served, who is drinking the alcohol, because they don’t care because people are paying those prices to get into the parking lot,” Carr said.
Witnesses say Bradley and Van Winkle had an argument that lasted several minutes, before he admits to punching Van Winkle, an assault that left him unconscious. According to the lawsuit several more minutes went by until the crowd realized he wasn’t breathing, and he was dead by the time help arrived.
Bradley plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter in June and was sentenced to five years probation. He's also named in the lawsuit.
“It’s unbelievable to think in a crowd so big, that there was no one around to help,” his widow Jennifer Van Winkle said.
She declined to comment on the lawsuit Monday, but spoke to FOX 4 in 2015 for a story about Chiefs security. That investigation found 25 assaults over the two years since Van Winkle’s death. The lawsuit cites 60 cases where police reports were generated over a 12-year period before the parking lot assault.
Van Winkle and her attorney accuse the Chiefs of promoting a party atmosphere, at the expense of fan safety.
“This is bound to have happened, it is tragic for this family that this has happened this is a devastating loss to this family,” Carr said.
“It’s not a matter in my mind of if it will happen again, it’s when it will happen again,” Jennifer Van Winkle said in November, 2015.
FOX 4 reached out to the Chiefs on Monday, which directed us to attorneys who said they couldn’t comment on pending litigation.
However, back in November the Chiefs did issue the following statement:
"The safety of our fans is our top priority, not just on gameday, but at all Arrowhead Events. We`ve always exercised comprehensive security procedures which are consistently reviewed to ensure fan safety. We are in constant communication with law enforcement officials including KCPD, the Jackson County Sherriff`s department, the FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force, along with the National Football League. We take pride in creating a safe environment for our guests and will continue to take appropriate measures to ensure safety in our stadium and parking lots."