Jefferson County accident suit filed in Madison County

Steve Gonzalez Aug. 29, 2006, 2:40am

Two men injured in an automobile accident in Jefferson County, Ill. filed a personal injury suit against the man who allegedly caused the accident and his employer.

Rolando Serna and Roberto Hinojosa, both of Texas, were operating a 2003 Freightliner Century Class ST tractor-trailer on April 19, 2002, when William Sheldon Jeffcoat of Port St. Joe, Fla., collided with them on Highway 157, near Doods, Ill.

According to the complaint filed Aug. 24 in Madison County Circuit Court, Jeffcoat was driving a vehicle for Stanley Jones of Tennessee.

The plaintiffs claim that Jeffcoat failed to keep a lookout as a person of ordinary prudence would have kept under the same or similar circumstances, failed to timely apply the brakes, failed to take evasive action to avoid a collision, failed to sound his horn, failed to remain attentive to the traffic situation and/or fell asleep at the wheel, drove a speed greater than reasonable, and drove his vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.

Both Serna and Hinojosa claim they sustained serious, painful, progressive, permanent and disabling back and lumbar spine injuries.

They also claim they suffered and will forever suffer pain and radiculopathy, with limitation of movement and function, and loss of use of such areas of their bodies and will develop traumatically-induced arthritis.

Both claim they have incurred medical expenses and have lost wages.

Elizabeth Serna, Rolando's wife, also is seeking damages for loss of consortium.

The plaintiffs claim Jeffcoat's employer, Stanley Jones, failed to undertake reasonable investigation of Jeffcoat's driving history before hiring him.

They claim a thorough review would have revealed that Jeffcoat was a reckless, incompetent and irresponsible driver as evidenced by his driving record.

"The acts of Stanley Jones constitute not merely negligent conduct, but also intentional misconduct, reckless, willful and wanton conduct, deliberately indifferent conduct beyond the bounds of decency in a civilized society, conscious disregard for safety, and conduct sufficient to shock the conscience, thus warranting the imposition of punitive or exemplary damages," the complaint states.

Represented by Daniel Cohen of the Lakin Law Firm in Wood River and August Toudouze of San Antonio, Texas, the plaintiffs are seeking damages in excess of $150,000 each.

According to the complaint, this case was previously pending U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, and was dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction over defendants, with the dismissal entered on Jan. 7, 2005.

06 L 714

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