Jane and Craig Noel’s 14-year-old grandson still has nightmares about the night his mother died. The Kirkland couple yesterday filed a claim against the state Department of Corrections on behalf of their two grandsons, the 14-year-old and his 8-year-old brother, who lost their mother in a car crash caused by a felon mistakenly released from prison, the Seattle Times reports. Robert Jackson, 39, was convicted of vehicular homicide for killing the boys’ mother, 35-year-old Lindsay Hill, on Nov. 11, 2015. Jackson was drunk and driving 80 mph when he slammed into an electrical utility box. The charge was Jackson’s third strike under the state’s Persistent Offender Act. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of release.
The Noels are haunted by the fact their daughter wouldn’t have been killed by Jackson if the state had not ignored a computer-software problem responsible for the mistaken release of 3,000 inmates since 2002. The state was alerted to the problem in 2012 by the family of a crime victim and yet did nothing to fix it or even publicly acknowledge it until late 2015. Jackson was freed in August 2015 but should have remained locked up until that December. The Noels’ claim against the state is a required step before the couple can file a wrongful-death lawsuit.