Mother of ‘Katie Bug’ speaks about daughter’s passing, verdict of wrongful death trial

Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 6:04 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 18, 2023 at 3:09 PM CDT
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BENTON, La. (KSLA) - The mother of four-year-old Katie Grantham sat down with KSLA’s Doug Warner to open up about the tragic passing of her daughter.

Not only does Morgan Grantham speak about Katie but also the Louisiana record-setting wrongful death judgement, and why she says earlier attempts to settle out of court were rejected.

Morgan Grantham tells KSLA the civil trial held earlier in the month of March is only the beginning of what’s to come.

In Nov. of 2017, the driver of an oil rig company work truck ran a redlight along LA Highway 3 just south of Benton, crashing into the 2005 Toyota 4Runner being driven by Morgan. The impact threw Katie from her booster seat, critically injuring the child. She died a week later as a result of her injuries.

Shane Christopher DeMoss, the truck driver, was only given 10 days in jail, namely because at the time, Louisiana law didn’t mandate that a blood sample be taken to determine if a person was under the influence or not. Since that crash, Katie Bug’s Law was passed. The new law now requires that blood samples be taken when someone is critically injured.

During the trial, it was discovered that the driver had a history of drug use. Drug residue and alcohol was later found in his work truck by state police.

The Bossier jury’s wrongful death judgement was the highest in La. history and the fifth highest in the nation. Katie’s parents were awarded $200 million each. An additional $5 million was awarded for injuries the mother sustained in the wreck. Another $4,122,013 was awarded in punitive damages for Katie’s birthday. Morgan says they never considered settling out of court because they wanted the facts to come out about the DeMoss’ history and the hiring practices of the companies he worked for.

Morgan says she’s incredibly thankful for the jury.

Every year on Katie’s birthday since she passed away, the Grantham family gives away thousands of books in her memory because she loved to read. These books go to area churches and many others. In the 6 years of donating books, the family has given away over 13,000.

Katie’s birthday is April 12.

KSLA will continue to speak with the Grantham’s in the weeks to come as their work continues to expose the hiring practices and internal reporting by many companies and why state and federal agencies and laws, already on the books, are not doing enough to prevent tragedies.