Man dragged under Mississippi River barge sues

Kelly Holleran Jul. 29, 2009, 7:17am

An O'Fallon man who says he was dragged under a barge after it tipped on its side is suing the company that owned the barge.

Vincent Ray Deering claims he was working as a pilot on the M/V Hartford Beaver, which was owned by National Maintenance and Repair, on March 11 when the incident occurred on the Mississippi River.

"The plaintiff, while in the performance of his duties was severely injured when he was attempting to dock the M/V Hartford Beaver and its tow when, in the process thereof, the steering pump malfunctioned, which, along with high water conditions and improper tying and underpowering of the vessel, the vessel became sideways in the water, causing plaintiff to fall in the water and be carried by the current under the empty barge, causing severe and disabling injuries to his neck, back and spine, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder and psychological injuries," the suit filed July 24 in Madison County Circuit Court states.

Because of the accident, Deering was made sick, sore, lame and disordered, suffered injury to his back, neck, spine and shoulders and lost wages, according to the complaint. In addition, Deering lost his earning capacity, sustained psychological injuries, experienced pain and suffering, incurred medical costs, became disabled and lost his normal life, the complaint says.

National Maintenance and Repair negligently failed to provide Deering a safe place to work, failed to provide him with reasonably suitable equipment, assigned Deering to duties that it knew were in excess of Deering's physical capacities and aggravated his pre-existing medical condition, Deering claims.

In the two-count suit, Deering is seeking a judgment in excess of $100,000 and an amount of not less than $100 per day for maintenance, plus a reimbursement of medical expenses, costs, pre-judgment and other relief the court deems just.

He will be represented by Fritz G. Faerber and Christine E. Anderson of Faerber and Anderson in St. Louis.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-768.

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