Hidden Lake Winery sued for head injury in parking lot

Ann Knef Mar. 24, 2008, 8:45am

Hidden Lake Winery in Aviston is being sued by a woman who was struck in the parking lot by a shuttle bus while attending a birthday party year.

Stephanie Johnson of Madison County claims that while returning to the patio area from the main building on Nov. 17, 2007, she was struck and suffered severe head injuries.

In a suit filed March 13 in St. Clair County Circuit Court, Johnson and her husband Jeremy Johnson claim the winery, its owner Dale Holbrook and shuttle bus driver Larry D. Satterfield, are negligent for failing to ensure a safe pathway on the winery's premises.

"At the moment of impact, Mrs. Johnson suffered severe head injuries," the complaint states.

"The Shuttle came to rest on Mrs. Johnson's head, as Satterfield put the shuttle in park and exited the shuttle.

"At the direction of numerous bystanders, Satterfield reentered the Shuttle, and placed it in reverse as bystanders assisted in pushing it off her head. Upon regaining consciousness, Mrs. Johnson realized she was bleeding from her eyes, ears and mouth."

An ambulance transported Johnson to St. Joseph's Hospital in Breese. She was later transferred via helicopter to St. Louis University Hospital in St. Louis due to the severity of her condition, the complaint states.

According to the complaint, the winery's main building, patio areas and gazebos were connected with pathways which were designed to be used by patrons.

Johnson claims there was no walkway lighting on the path where she was struck, there were no warning signs indicating the pathway was not intended for pedestrian use, there was no marked speed limit on the pathway, and there was no striping indicating the pathway was intended for vehicle use.

She claims Satterfield failed to operate the shuttle in a manner that was reasonably safe.

The Johnson are represented by Christopher W. Byron, Brian R. Kalb and Micah S. Summers of Byron Gerber Petri & Kalb of Edwardsville.

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