Seattle ‘screwed this up,’ bereaved family prepares lawsuit involving delayed police response

Nov 26, 2021, 11:08 AM | Updated: 11:55 am

Will Yurek...

A Seattle fire truck. (Photo credit 'Loco Steve' via Flickr)

(Photo credit 'Loco Steve' via Flickr)

The family of Will Yurek is preparing to file a claim against the City of Seattle.

On Nov. 2, Yurek’s son Drew called 911 to report that his father was having a medical emergency. As KTTH’s Jason Rantz first reported, when Seattle Fire arrived six minutes later, they were told to wait for police before entering.

Rantz: 13-yr-old watches father die as staffing crisis likely delayed police, fire response

The address was incorrectly flagged as unsafe for Seattle Fire to enter. The last tenant living at the Yurek’s address was listed as being hostile to first responders, but the blacklist from Seattle Fire wasn’t updated. It took short-staffed Seattle police 15 minutes to arrive on scene, delaying medics from performing life-saving measures for Will Yurek.

Instead, Drew watched helplessly as his father died. Medical experts say Will Yurek had a good chance of surviving if paramedics had been able to treat him as soon as they got there.

“We’ll be filing a claim shortly,” attorney Mark Lindquist of the Herrmann Law Group told KIRO Radio. “We’re currently gathering additional information, but it’s already quite clear: The city screwed this up.”

Rantz says short staffing at the Seattle Police Department compounded the problem. Hundreds of officers have quit since the protests and riots of 2020, and nearly 100 more were taken off-duty in October due to the COVID vaccine mandate in place for city employees. Rantz contends this is a factor leading to the delayed response to the Yurek residence.

Under state law, a claim must be filed against the city before plaintiffs can file a lawsuit.

“The city made numerous mistakes here, but the most significant was they mislabeled Mr. Yurek as combative with law enforcement. He was not. They had the wrong guy,” Lindquist said. “Their list was outdated. And when you’ve got a list, and lives depend upon the accuracy of that list, your list has to be updated. It’s got to be accurate. Here, it wasn’t.”

The City of Seattle has a policy of not commenting on pending litigation. In response to earlier questions about the Yurek case, a Seattle Fire Department spokesperson said “we are carefully reviewing this incident from many angles in our department (operations, dispatch, etc.) and our Premise Notes Policy.”

Lindquist says 13-year-old Drew is devastated.

“Drew’s having a very tough time with this, as you might imagine; he’s angry. He doesn’t want people to even touch his father’s things. There’s a lot going on,” Lindquist said. “Not only did he lose his father, at a pretty critical age for a young man at 13, he watched it happen. And he knows it didn’t need to happen. He did the right thing. He called 911. And the city screwed it up.”

Local News


Heather Bosch

Pot shops remain high target for smash-and-grabs, armed robbery

Pot shops are targets of smash-and-grabs because they're, typically, cash reliant as it's illegal under federal law to buy those products with credit cards.

14 hours ago

plane crash Arlington Airport...

Frank Sumrall

Pilot killed in plane crash near Arlington Municipal Airport

At least one person was killed in a small plane crash Friday near the Arlington Municipal Airport, according to authorities.

16 hours ago

washington tipping...

Frank Sumrall

Study: Washington is second-lowest tipping state in nation

Following California and Washington, Nevada and Florida, at 18.2% and 18.3%, respectively, had the third and fourth-lowest average tipping rate.

17 hours ago

scam tacoma trial...

L.B. Gilbert

Tacoma police warn of scammers asking for donations for Manny Ellis trial

There's a phone scam taking advantage of the public's interest surrounding the trial of the police officers charged in the death of Manny Ellis.

18 hours ago

rainfall fall summer...

L.B. Gilbert

As summer ends, Seattle will feel fall fast with ‘first heavy rainfall’

As Friday brings the last official day of summer, it will start to feel like fall incredibly fast with the first heavy rain of the season expected.

19 hours ago

Image: First lady Jill Biden speaks at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle Friday...

Steve Coogan

First lady Jill Biden talks up Fred Hutch’s cancer research during Seattle visit

First lady Jill Biden made a public appearance in Seattle at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center near Lake Union Friday afternoon.

20 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife...

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is a busy month on the sports calendar and also holds a very special designation: Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Ziply Fiber...

Dan Miller

The truth about Gigs, Gs and other internet marketing jargon

If you’re confused by internet technologies and marketing jargon, you’re not alone. Here's how you can make an informed decision.

Education families...

Education that meets the needs of students, families

Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) is a program of Omak School District that is a full-time online public school for students in grades K-12.

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

Seattle ‘screwed this up,’ bereaved family prepares lawsuit involving delayed police response