Flying debris on highway caused construction worker's injuries, suit claims

Kelly Holleran Mar. 5, 2009, 2:50am

A highway construction worker and his wife are seeking more than $700,000 over injuries sustained by a flying piece of debris.

In a St. Clair County Circuit Court suit Craig and Colette Poettker filed Feb. 26, they allege Craig Poettker was working in a construction zone on Highway 161, .2 miles north of High Ridge Drive in Belleville, when debris struck him on March 2, 2007.

The flying debris was the result of an accident in which Joseph Courtney, who was driving west on Highway 161, crashed through a barricade after attempting to change lanes in a construction zone, the suit states.

At the time of the accident, Joseph Courtney was working for Helitech and was driving Williams Courtney's vehicle, Craig Poettker claims.

After the debris hit him, Craig Poettker claims he suffered severe and permanent injuries to his head and leg and that he experienced great pain of the mind and body.

He also suffered mental anguish, incurred medical bills, lost income and will be unable to attend to the ordinary affairs of life, according to the complaint.

His wife, Colette Poettker, lost her husband's consortium and society, the suit states.

Joseph Courtney was negligent by driving more than 35 miles per hour, by failing to decrease his speed, by driving in a construction zone at a speed in excess of the posted speed limit when workers were present, by failing to keep a proper lookout for hazards and by failing to maintain proper control of his vehicle, the suit states.

Helitech breached its duty to refrain form hiring people it knew to be unfit for the job when it hired Joseph Courtney who had a history of speeding violations, Craig Poettker alleges.

By permitting Joseph Courtney to drive his vehicle, William Courtney breached his duty not to entrust the use of his vehicle to someone he knew would drive in a careless fashion.

In the 14-count suit, the Poettkers are seeking a judgment in excess of $700,000, plus costs.

J. Robert Edmonds of Mormino, Velloff, Edmonds and Snider in Alton will be representing them.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-0107.

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