Ocean City sued over death of Ashley O’Connor

OCEAN CITY, Md. – About two years ago, the body of a 30-year-old woman was found buried in the sand on the beach in Ocean City. Her family has since filed a lawsuit against the beach town, alleging that her death was largely their fault.

Gayla Lutyk, the mother of 30-year-old Ashley O’Connor from Texas is suing Ocean City to the tune of one million dollars.

Loretta Ayon, a frequent Ocean City visitor said, “It’s her child you know? She’s going to be upset about that. She’s obviously going to blame Ocean City for it.”

The plaintiff claims that Ocean City was negligent by allowing people on the beach at night while the sand was being cleaned by beach sweepers. Ocean City, however, states on their website that the beach is open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. and O’Connor’s death likely happened between 2 and 3 a.m. according to investigators. Either way, people we spoke to on Monday say it’s not reasonable to keep people off the beach at night.

Suellen Wagner, an Ocean City visitor said, “I feel bad for the family, however, I don’t feel that it was Ocean City’s responsibility.”

The family also alleges in their lawsuit that it was the beach sweepers fault, because they should have seen O’Connors body. Beach goers we spoke to believe that the sweeper couldn’t have known.

Wagner said, “That poor beach sweeper has to live with that for the rest of their life. It was not their fault and they shouldn’t have to feel any guilt and my thoughts and prayers go out to then and their family.”

Ayon said, “If you can’t see someone, there’s no way that you’re going to know that they’re there.”

The plaintiff says their daughter experienced extreme pain and suffering as a result of this accident and that it all could have been avoided if Ocean City had better trained its employees, inspected the hole before driving over it with the sweeper and warned visitors about the sweeper ahead of time. Many of the people we spoke to on Monday simply don’t agree with this.

Ayon said, “I don’t think that Ocean City should be blamed. It’s been like this for years, it’s just a freak accident and that’s what I think.”

There’s no word yet on when this case might be heard in court but we’ll be sure to update this article as soon as we get that information.

We reached out to the Town of Ocean City for a comment on this but have not heard back.

Categories: Local News, Maryland