Dori: Lawsuit addresses slow police response that caused Ballard man’s death

Dec 12, 2022, 6:57 PM | Updated: Jan 1, 2023, 7:37 pm
(Seattle Police Department)...
(Seattle Police Department)
(Seattle Police Department)

Struggling to breathe and gurgling on the floor of his Ballard apartment, William Yurek, 45, lay dying and unable to receive emergency care from Seattle paramedics – even though first responders were parked outside the man’s Crown Hill neighborhood apartment for more than 13 minutes.

That is what Mark Lindquist is claiming in the wrongful death lawsuit he has filed against the City of Seattle on behalf of Yurek’s family, the Seattle attorney told The Dori Monson Show Monday.

“This tragedy was so avoidable,” Lindquist told Dori’s listeners.

And given that it was Yurek’s 12-year-old son who called 911 twice to secure paramedic response for his dad, it is especially “devastating,” Lindquist added.

The case stems from Nov. 2, 2021, when Yurek’s son “got on the phone and called 911” when he believed his dad was suffering a heart attack – and waited about six minutes for first responders to arrive outside their home.

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Audio of both of the boy’s anguished calls to 911 is included in the lawsuit.

After arrival, Lindquist continued, the medics didn’t enter the home.

“The problem was they didn’t go in because Mr. Yurek was mistakenly on a `blacklist’ for being combative to first responders, so medics sat outside the residence,” Lindquist explained.

Yurek, who had lived in the apartment complex for about ten years, had lived in his current unit for a couple of years, the attorney continued. It was the previous tenant of that address who had been “blacklisted” – and officials “never updated the list,” Lindquist told Dori.

Lindquist’s suit claims that because Seattle Police were understaffed that day, “caution notes” on the address forced paramedic care to wait outside before they could enter behind police protection. Thirteen minutes later, with police on the way, medics opted to enter the apartment to perform CPR and use a defibrillator on Yurek – but the man died in front of his son, Lindquist detailed.

There is no financial amount attached to the suit, the attorney said, adding that an eventual jury would be allowed to set that if they find it in his client’s favor.

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What about the “blacklist” glitch that appears to have occurred between an address and the updated true resident of that location? Dori wanted to know.

“Has that been rectified?” Dori asked.

“We hope that they have rectified this,” Lindquist said, “but we will see what measures they have taken” when the suit advances.

Listen to Dori Monson weekday afternoons from noon – 3 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Dori: Lawsuit addresses slow police response that caused Ballard man’s death