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    Sunday, May 19, 2024

    Estate secures $1.15 million settlement in hit-and-run death of New London man

    Kim "Kenny" Weeks was struck and killed by a minivan on Jan. 18, 2017, on Route 85 in Waterford. His estate secured a $1.15 million settlement in a lawsuit against the former East Lyme woman charged with negligent homicide in the case. (Photo contributed by Suisman Shapiro).

    The former nurse from East Lyme charged in a hit-and-run that claimed the life of Kim “Kenny” Weeks, a local character who was a fixture on the streets of downtown New London, has agreed to a $1.15 million settlement to end a wrongful death lawsuit, attorneys handling the case announced.

    The lawsuit was filed in 2017 against Shirley Langford and her company, Interim Healthcare of Eastern Connecticut, by Weeks’ friend, Jack Chaplin, the chef and co-owner of the former Daddy Jack’s restaurant on Bank Street in New London. Chaplin died in 2021 and his daughter, Rachel Chaplin, agreed to become the administrator for Weeks’ estate and take over administration of Weeks’ estate that her father had taken on when no one else could be found to do so.

    Rachel Chaplin said she didn’t know the 61-year-old Weeks as well as her father but fondly remembers that Weeks always seemed to show up at the restaurant looking to help out. Weeks was ubiquitous in the downtown area, hanging out at local businesses to chat or perform odd jobs in exchange for cash. Whether he was homeless is unclear, but Chaplin said it doesn’t matter. Weeks, Chaplin said, deserved to have someone in his corner seeking justice for what happened.

    Weeks’ body was discovered on the morning of Jan. 19, 2017, on an embankment off Route 85 in Waterford, near the Crystal Mall. A monthslong investigation by Waterford police led to Langford’s arrest on the charge of negligent homicide with a motor vehicle. At the time, Langford was described as a 74-year-old nurse and CEO of Norwich-based Interim HealthCare of Eastern Connecticut.

    Langford had denied any memory of striking Weeks, but police had recovered pieces of her minivan at the scene of where he was killed. Police said he was hit and killed the day before his body was discovered.

    In court filings related to the civil case, Langford’s attorney had been prepared to offer evidence at trial that Langford suffered from a medical emergency, possibly a stroke or transient ischemic attack, when she struck and killed Weeks. As the case neared a trial, her attorney had indicated that a doctor was prepared to testify that the medical condition not only compromised Langford’s ability to drive but also led to amnesia.

    Chaplin, represented in the suit by attorneys with the New London-based firm Suisman Shapiro, does not expect to benefit financially from the settlement. She said the lawsuit was for the benefit of Weeks’ family and honoring her father’s desire to pursue justice and look out for a friend.

    “When the accident happened, my dad was really upset,” Chaplin said. “My dad was always really big on trying to help anyone down on their luck or having a hard time. Everybody’s life has value and I’m happy to see he cared enough to take this on.”

    “For me, anything my dad was passionate about I am interested in. I think in some kind of way justice is served,” Chaplin said.

    Chaplin said her father was successful in finding some members of Weeks’ family and said she hoped that the settlement could help change someone’s life. Chaplin said she also hopes some portion of the money comes back to the New London community, perhaps in the form of a scholarship fund.

    Attorney Isabel Del Vecchio, who represented Chaplin in the case with fellow Suisman Shapiro attorney Laura Raymond, said the matter of the disbursement of the settlement funds is now in the hands of of the probate court.

    State Judicial Department records indicate Langford was not prosecuted on the criminal charge. Langford, who is now 84, could not be reached to comment. Her attorney, Robert Clemente, of the Hartford law firm of Cooney, Scully and Dowling, did not return calls seeking comment.


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