Denver man files wrongful death claim against Arches National Park after newlyweds’ trip ends with wife’s death |

Denver man files wrongful death claim against Arches National Park after newlyweds’ trip ends with wife’s death

Shelly Bradbury
Denver Post
Esther Nakajjigo and her husband, Ludovic Michaud, pose at Arches National Park on June 13, 2020.
Photo provided by Ludovic Michaud via The Denver Post

A newlywed Denver couple’s road trip to Arches National Park in Utah this summer ended in tragedy when a metal gate at the park exit swung open, impaled the couple’s car and decapitated the woman, a 25-year-old Ugandan human rights activist.

Esther Nakajjigo, who’d moved to Colorado in 2019 to attend the Watson Institute in Boulder, was killed instantly.

In October, Nakajjigo’s husband, Ludovic Michaud, and her parents filed a $270 million wrongful death claim — a precursor to a formal lawsuit — against the park, alleging that the gate should have been secured to prevent it from swinging into the road.

“The National Park Service has, in fact, known for decades that an unsecured metal pipe gate creates an undetectable hazard and dangerous condition for its park invitees,” the claim reads, noting at least three other instances since 1988 in which people in cars were fatally impaled by such gates.

This incident happened June 13 just before 2 p.m. as the couple were leaving the park, according to the claim. A video of the crash shows Michaud was driving and Nakajjigo was in the front passenger seat as they drove toward the gate at about the same speed as other vehicles, according to a sheriff’s report.

Read more via The Denver Post.

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