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Halloween Prank With Hedge Clippers Maims Boy, Lawsuit Alleges

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (STMW) -- A Halloween trick went terribly wrong when a woman allegedly injured a boy with electric hedge clippers while attempting to frighten children at party she was hosting for her daughter at her Arlington Heights home, a negligence lawsuit filed Monday claims. 

Jeffrey Flowers and Melody Pekarnek, the boy's parents, claim their son attended a Halloween party Oct. 31, 2010 at the Arlington Heights home of Cynthia Swanson, according to a lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court.  Swanson was hosting the party for her daughter and her friends, which included the boy.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780's Mary Frances Bragiel reports


During the party, Swanson attempted to frighten the children by putting on a mask and brandishing electric hedge clippers, according to the suit. She waited outside the home in the dark and when the boy exited the house Swanson jumped out and swung the clippers at him.

The boy was frightened and put his hands up to defend himself, according to the suit. The clippers came into contact with the boy's hands and he was injured.

The suit claims that the boy's hand and fingers have been permanently maimed and deformed. The injuries are permanent and he will likely be injured for the rest of his life, his parents say. The boy will continue to suffer distress and disability due to the injuries, the suit said.

The suit claims that Swanson performed the trick with the clippers with the power on and failed to prevent the clippers from injuring the boy.  She also failed to have a proper and secure grip on the clippers, which were operated in an unsafe manner.

The three-count suit claims negligence, battery, and willful and wanton misconduct.  The suit seeks more than $150,000 in damages, more than $200,000 in punitive damages and court costs.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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