Hylla delays personal injury trial after witness has heart attack

Steve Gonzalez Jun. 11, 2007, 4:00am


The trial of William Clawson who is suing the man who came to repossess his car was continued last week because of a medical emergency.

Madison County Circuit Judge David Hylla had to stop the trial after Clawson's wife, a key witness in the case, suffered a heart attack on the way to court and was hospitalized.

Clawson claims he drove a golf cart in the path of his 2003 Chevy Cavalier as it was being repossessed on Feb. 27, 2005, because he thought it was being stolen "since GMAC never notified him they intended to repossess his car," according to a suit filed Aug. 4, 2005, in Madison County.

Represented by Steve Buser of Columbia, Clawson is seeking in excess of $100,000 in damages from Jack Turner of Collinsville, who works for RDA Towing and Recovery in Missouri. He also is seeking damages from GMAC claiming the company failed to notify RDA that the repossession had been rescinded.

Clawson claims he suffered severe and disabling injuries to his neck, mental anguish, incurred and became liable for medical expenses, and has been unable to perform his work activities.

Hylla said the trial will continue on June 18, with 11 of the 13 jurors that were already chosen. He will chose two replacement jurors before the trial begins.

Clawson claims Turner "attempted to repossess his car in a manner that was not done peacefully and without violating his rights."

He also claims Turner used an unreasonable amount of force in his effort to take possession of the Chevy Cavalier and drove the car into the golf cart.

The suit alleges that Turner failed to reduce his speed to avoid colliding into the golf cart, failed to properly apply the brakes, and failed to keep the car under proper control.

But GMAC claims Clawson was the one who was negligent and filed a counter-suit against him for the cost of the vehicle.

GMAC alleges Clawson attempted to preclude Turner from taking his vehicle by threatening Turner and a member of his immediate family with bodily injury and them running into Turner with the golf cart.

GMAC claims if Clawson was really injured it was because Turner was only defending himself against an assault.

The company also claim Clawson owes them $14,897.08 for non-payment under the contract for his car.

GMAC is represented by Nelson Mitten of St. Louis.

According to GMAC, Clawson purchased his car on May 15, 2003, from George Weber Chevrolet.

The amount financed was $17,974.52 plus a finance charge of $7,892.92.

Clawson went into default for non-payment on April 30, 2005.

Turner and RDA are represented by Zack Vaughn of St. Louis.

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