Widow of former KU athletic director Frederick files lawsuit

LAWRENCE, Kan. | The widow of former University of Kansas athletics director Bob Frederick says negligence by the city of Lawrence and a utility company contributed to her husband’s death in a bicycle accident.

Bob Frederick died in June when his bicycle hit a hole in a street near the Kansas campus, causing him to fly over the handlebars and strike his head on the pavement.

In her lawsuit filed Wednesday in Douglas County District Court, Margey Frederick claims that the city and Black Hills Energy did not do enough to repair damaged pavement on the street where her husband died.

The gas utility was working in the area before the accident, after receiving a permit from the city.

Toni Wheeler, director of legal services for the city of Lawrence, said the city won’t comment on pending litigation. A Black Hills spokesman said the company wouldn’t comment until it reviewed the case.

Margey Frederick said in a statement that the family decided to file the lawsuit after determining that her husband’s death was a “tragedy that could have been prevented.”

“To prevent another family from having to experience what we’ve endured, and to improve safety for bicyclists and drivers in Lawrence, we want to make sure that the entities responsible for creating that hazard are held accountable,” she said.

Lynn R. Johnson, a Kansas City, Mo., attorney who is representing the family, said he believes the utility was primarily responsible for the accident. He said the city was included as a defendant to ensure that the Frederick family was able to recover damages from all responsible parties.

Though the petition is asking for damages of more than $75,000, that is only to satisfy a statutory requirement and an exact amount of the damages being sought hasn’t been calculated, Johnson said.