Family Sues Property Owners Where Teen Died - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

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Family Sues Property Owners Where Teen Died

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The McCrory Lane Rock Quarry is a place children have gone for years to swim, but a 13-year-old boy lost his life at the quarry. A lawsuit raised questions about who was responsible for Jeremy's death.

Jeremy's father, Artis Butts, said it was an incident that did not have to happen.

"Everything reminds me of him, every other song on the radio, every time somebody opens the door," said Butts.

He's suing the owners of the property, three prominent local entrepreneurs, for not maintaining a fence.

"People on a daily basis go out there, and it becomes just normal just a normal hangout," said Butts.

His son's friends said they never saw a no trespassing sign and there was no fence.

"Just a simple fence, I honestly believe they would have turned around," said Butts.

The primary barrier, just down from the entrance, was the bank of trees. There appeared to be sections where there was no fence at all. The main entrance now has a fence, but it would be easy to get around.

The owners bought the property during the real estate boom hoping to turn it into a landfill. Environmental groups fought the plan because the quarry was so close to the Harpeth River. 

When the owners realized the quarry was not going to be developed the lawsuit alleged they sold a section of the property and then tried to donate the rock quarry to Metro.

Just one year before Jeremy Butts drowned, the owners offered to put a six foot fence around the quarry for "safety purposes." Metro did not want the quarry, and the fence was never built.

"Just to see it wide open like it always has been you know and my son died out there, and it seems nobody cares," said Butts.

The owners said they have no legal obligation to maintain a fence that children keep knocking down. They declined an interview, but in a statement their lawyer said they are "deeply saddened by the death of Jeremy Butts . . . Jeremy's death resulted solely from unfortunate choices he made."  They also said Jeremy "chose to trespass on the quarry property."

Others chose to trespass as well. Steven Goodman said he broke his back jumping off one of the quarry cliffs. The 22-year-old put pictures of all of it on the internet.

Art Butts believed it was the owners who are being irresponsible.

"I don't want this to go by as just another person that got hurt at the rock quarry. I want this to be the end of people getting hurt at the rock quarry," said Butts.

The owners estimate the cost of a 6 foot fence around the quarry would be $75,000 to $90,000. There are no plans to build the fence and no one is sure what will happen with the property.

The family is also suing a 39-year-old woman who went with Jeremy and his friends to the quarry. The lawsuit stated she should have stopped them.

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