Father sues tractor trailer driver over son's death in MLK Bridge accident

Kelly Holleran Apr. 7, 2009, 11:11am

A father has filed suit against a man and a leasing company on behalf of his recently deceased son, claiming his son was killed in a collision.

Fred Cole says his son, Matthew Lucas Cole, was driving east on Martin Luther King Bridge between Illinois and Missouri in St. Clair County when Chivas J. Day, who was driving a vehicle he rented from Enterprise Leasing Company of St. Louis, attempted to pass a tractor semi-trailer.

The tractor semi-trailer and Day were heading west on the road, and when Day attempted to pass the tractor, he pulled in Cole's eastbound lane and hit him, according to the complaint filed April 3 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

Because of the collision, Matthew Lucas Cole died, the suit states.

As a result of his death, Matthew Lucas Cole's father, mother, brother and two sisters have been deprived of his love, affection, society and support, Fred Cole claims.

Day negligently attempted to pass the tractor semi-trailer in a no-passing zone when it was not safe to pass, drove at a high rate of speed, failed to keep a proper lookout for other vehicles and drove in an improper lane, according to the complaint.

Before renting out the vehicle to Day, Enterprise should have determined if Day was of appropriate moral character to drive and if Day had the ability to drive in compliance with traffic laws, the suit states.

"The negligent entrustment of the vehicle by the Defendant, Enterprise Leasing Co. of St. Louis, into the custody and possession of the Defendant, Chivas J. Day, constituted a proximate cause of the injuries and death to the Plaintiff as alleged herein," the suit states.

In the four-count suit, Fred Cole is seeking a judgment in excess of $200,000.

He is represented by John Womick of Womick Law Firm in Herrin.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-168.

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