Suit filed over Route 111 deaths; Couple and unborn child killed

Kelly Holleran Dec. 1, 2009, 7:12am

The brother and sister of a recently deceased couple have filed suit against one intoxicated driver whose license was revoked because of prior driving-under-the influence arrests and another driver who allegedly struck the couple while intoxicated, causing their deaths.

Christopher Zimmer and Theresa Arnold claim Lindsey Arnold-Zimmer was driving her blue 2007 Hyundai Elantra south on Illinois Route 111 about one mile south of Sand Prairie Road in Pontoon Beach on Feb. 21 at about 4:47 p.m. Riding in the car with Arnold-Zimmer was her husband, Adam Zimmer. At the time of collision, Lindsey Arnold-Zimmer was about four months pregnant, according to the complaint filed Nov. 25 in Madison County Circuit Court.

As the Zimmers were driving, defendant Donald Canterbery was operating a 2006 Chevrolet Corvette in the same direction, traveling at about 151 miles-per-hour in a 55 miles-per-hour zone, the suit states. Canterbery rapidly approached the Zimmers and rear-ended them while traveling about 91.11 miles-per-hour, the complaint says.

"As a result of the initial collision, the Plaintiffs' Elantra accelerated and spun counter clockwise for approximately 122 feet," the suit states. "Toward the end of the spin, the Elantra crossed into the northbound lane of Illinois Route 111."

That's when defendant Tiffany Ogara, who was driving a pewter metallic 2003 Chevrolet Avalanche north on Illinois Route 111 struck the Zimmers' Elantra, the plaintiffs claim.

At the time of the collision, Canterbery had a blood alcohol concentration of .246 percent, more than three times the legal limit, while Ogara had a blood alcohol concentration of .112. In addition, Ogara's blood samples also revealed traces of cocaine and cannabis, according to the complaint.

As a result of the accident, both Adam Zimmer and Lindsey Arnold-Zimmer died and lost their unborn baby, the suit states.

Before their deaths, the couple and their child suffered great pain and incurred medical costs, the complaint says.

The couple's next-of-kin lost their companionship and society, the complaint says.

In addition to Canterbery and Tiffany Ogara, other defendants named in the suit include Joshua Ogara, MasterCars Company, Sarah L. Perrigan doing business as The Village Inn and Panero doing business as Smokey Joe's.

The plaintiffs blame Canterbery for driving while under the influence of alcohol, for driving too fast, for driving recklessly, for failing to properly control the vehicle, for failing to decrease his speed, for driving without a license to do so and for driving despite knowing that his prior infractions for driving under the influence prevented him from doing so.

Tiffany Ogara negligently drove while under the influence of alcohol and illicit drugs, failed to properly control her vehicle and failed to decrease her speed to avoid a collision, according to the complaint.

Joshua Ogara should not have entrusted his vehicle to Tiffany Ogara because he knew she was under the influence of alcohol and illicit drugs, but did so while he was also under the influence, the suit states.

MasterCars negligently entrusted the possession of a 2006 Chevrolet Corvette to Canterbery when it knew he was an unlicensed driver and used a false address on an application for vehicle registration, the complaint says.

The plaintiffs blame Perrigan and Panero for serving alcoholic beverages to Canterbery before he caused the accident.

In the 54-count suit, the plaintiffs are seeking an unspecified judgment, plus costs and attorneys' fees.

Donald M. Flack of Flack Law Office in Wood River will be representing them.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-1285.

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