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Student paralyzed as six-year-old dies at 17, mother sued for $15.5K funeral costs

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After becoming a quadriplegic 11 years ago at age 6, E’traveon Johnson passed away last year, leaving his mother to pay thousands of dollars for a funeral.

Now, Lawson Funeral Home and Cremation Services is suing St. Petersburg resident Chantelle Ross, 37, for refusing to pay nearly $15,500 funeral costs for her 17-year-old son. Lawson Funeral Home is at 4535 Central Ave. in St. Petersburg.

The suit seeks payment for the funeral, interest and fees associated with bringing the suit. It was filed on Dec. 16. However, the suit was written and signed in late October.

In 2005, E’traveon Johnson ran out of Fairmount Park Elementary into oncoming traffic. A car struck the boy, leaving him paralyzed. Three years later, the Pinellas County School Board approved a $1.1 million settlement for Johnson and Ross. That year, E’traveon’s special-needs trust fund paid about $189,000 for a 1,674-square-foot home in St. Petersburg, where his mother still resides.

Medical care for a quadriplegic can be expensive. It is likely those funds quickly ran out, leaving Ross without money to cover the funeral.

On Jan. 28, 2016, Johnson passed away. Lawson Funeral home was hired by Ross to handle the arrangements.

Ross let her nursing certification expire in 2007, according to state records.

It is unclear what caused Johnson’s death. His obituary described Johnson as a “hospital-home bound 11th grader who loved to sing.”


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