Crime & Courts

Dillons sued by family of woman killed in parking lot

Wichita police investigate an accident in 2015 where Annette Hedke was killed in the Dillons parking lot at 21st and Rock Road.
Wichita police investigate an accident in 2015 where Annette Hedke was killed in the Dillons parking lot at 21st and Rock Road. File photo

The husband of a woman killed two years ago in a Dillons parking lot is suing the grocery company, alleging negligence.

Annette Hedke, 60, died on Feb. 5, 2015, after she slipped in the parking lot at the Dillons store at 2244 N. Rock Road and was then struck by a vehicle driven by Christopher Schrader.

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It was initially thought to be an accident, but Schrader was later charged with involuntary manslaughter, driving under the influence and other crimes after he was found to have a mix of drugs in his system. A year ago, he pleaded no contest and was sentenced to five years and nine months in prison.

According to the suit, Schrader worked for Dillons.

“That is a fact that was uncovered by our private investigator,” said Sean Brennan, Dennis Hedke’s attorney. He said it was unclear whether Schrader was working at the time of the accident.

Dillons said it couldn’t comment on the suit.

“While we can’t comment on pending litigation, the entire Dillons family remains deeply saddened by the tragic death of Mrs. Hedke and extends our condolences to her family,” company spokeswoman Sheila Lowrie wrote in an e-mail.

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The suit says Dillons should have known Schrader had a problem with alcohol and drugs. He was convicted of felony DUI in 2012 as well as a number of unrelated misdemeanors, including possession of a controlled substance, according to prison records.

It also said Dillons should have taken care to keep its parking lot level and free of debris.

Hedke is suing for more than $75,000. The suit has been filed now because the statute of limitations was about to expire.

The reason for the suit, Brennan said, is to answer some questions.

“One of the key unknowns about her passing was why she was on the ground in the first place,” Brennan said. “Our strong belief is that there was something wrong with the parking lot.”

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