Friend who drove pickup into pond, sued by mother

Kelly Holleran Nov. 24, 2009, 3:22am

The mother of a deceased man claims her son died after one of his friends drove his car into a pond while intoxicated.

Tammy Roberts filed a lawsuit Nov. 13 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Derik Schwaegel, Larry Schwaegel and Margaret Schwaegel.

Tammy Roberts claims her adult son under the age of 21, Jonathan Roberts, was partying and consuming alcoholic beverages while at the Schwaegels' property located at 4735 Brenner Road in Freeburg.

At the time, Jonathan Roberts owned a red 1996 Chevrolet Silverado when Derik Schwaegel, who was also under the age of 21 and was also intoxicated, took the car for a drive and drove it into a small lake on his property, according to the complaint.

"As a direct and proximate result of one or more of the foregoing negligent acts or omissions on the part of the defendant, plaintiff's decedent drowned and died," the suit states.

Because of her son's death, Tammy Roberts lost his love, companionship, society, guidance and support and incurred medical and funeral costs, the complaint says.

Tammy Roberts blames Derik Schwaegel for failing to keep the Silverado under control, for failing to keep a proper lookout, for driving into a small lake and for driving while intoxicated.

Larry and Margaret Schwaegel negligently failed to supervise adults under the age of 21 on their property, allowed adults under the age of 21 to consume alcoholic beverages and to become intoxicated on their property and allowed adults under the age of 21 to drive automobiles on their property while intoxicated, according to the complaint.

In the three-count suit, Tammy Roberts is seeking a judgment in excess of $225,000, plus costs.

Samantha S. Unsell of Belleville will be representing her.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-618.

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