Thursday, August 31, 2000, 12:00 a.m. Pacific

Second suit filed in deadly crash at border

by The Associated Press

A second lawsuit has been filed in a fiery 1998 car crash at the Peace Arch border crossing that killed two young Canadian women - this one by the father of one of them.

In a King County Superior Court lawsuit filed this week, Cat Simril Ishikawa seeks unspecified damages from Julia Campagna of Kirkland, driver of the car that struck the women's vehicle, and the maker and retailer of Xenadrine, a herbal supplement she was taking.

"It's our only option right now," said Ishikawa, of Vancouver, B.C. "We hope to get some sense of justice - something we didn't get from the criminal trial."

Ishikawa's daughter Monique, 19, and her friend, Kimberly Brooks, 18, died when their car was rear-ended by Campagna's vehicle and exploded into flames.

In September 1999, a court in New Westminster, B.C. found Campagna not guilty of two counts of vehicular homicide on grounds of mental illness attributed to the Xenadrine.

Ishikawa's attorney, Greg Samuels - an American who lives in Vancouver and handles cases on both sides of the border - said he expects it will take more than a year for the case to go to trial in Seattle.

"It's an interesting case from a legal point," Samuels said, noting that the crash occurred 220 yards north of the border.

"If not for that fact," he said, "this would be a straight wrongful-death case in Washington. It's one of those rare circumstances that a person might be allowed to sue in a foreign jurisdiction for an accident that happened up here."

The Ishikawa lawsuit also names Campagna's employer, Pharmacia and Upjohn, whose car she was driving; her running coach, who suggested she take the drug, and her doctor, who was aware she was taking it.

Last spring, Campagna herself sued Cytodyne Technologies, manufacturer of the weight-loss supplement Xenadrine, and General Nutrition, the company that sold her the pills.

In the criminal trial, three doctors testified that Xenadrine triggered a temporary psychosis in the 28-year-old marathon runner and caused her to barrel through the Peace Arch crossing and into a line of cars.

Campagna told that court she had started taking the supplement nine days before the crash to lose weight and improve her endurance in preparation for the New York City Marathon. She stopped taking the pills four days before the accident, after experiencing dizziness and other side effects associated with stimulants, but soon began having serious mental delusions.

Campagna's May lawsuit - now in federal court - contends Cytodyne Technologies and General Nutrition were negligent in producing and selling a defective product and not warning consumers about possible psychosis as a side effect.

Last fall, pharmacology experts at the University of Washington said such side effects are extremely rare.