Back seat passenger sues drivers over accident injuries

Kelly Holleran Feb. 15, 2010, 5:18am

A woman has filed suit against the driver of the vehicle in which she was riding and the driver of the automobile that rear-ended the vehicle.

Merland White claims she was riding in the back seat of a 2002 Pontiac Sunfire defendant Vanessa Hartwick was driving west on Interstate Highway 270 near its intersection with Chouteau Township on Dec. 19.

At the same time, defendant Michael Arnold was driving a vehicle for defendant Dohrn Transfer Company when he struck the rear of the vehicle in which White was riding, according to the complaint filed Feb. 8 in Madison County Circuit Court.

Because of the collision, White suffered serious, permanent, painful and disabling injuries to her head, spine, ribs, feet and right leg; and suffered severe pain in her body and mind, the suit states. In addition, she incurred medical costs and lost wages, the complaint says.

White blames Arnold and Dohrn for a number of negligent acts leading to the accident, including Arnold's driving too fast, their failure to comply with laws regarding a commercial driver's license, their violations of vehicle compliance laws, their violation of laws regarding vehicle inspection, their failure to comply with laws requiring a proper CDL license and their failure to comply with a law dealing with driver certification and qualification.

White also names Hartwick as a defendant, saying Hartwick negligently proceeded to travel in the right lane of the interstate, failed to utilize her hazard light to warn oncoming vehicles of her presence and left her vehicle in a lane of travel where it was likely to cause an accident.

In the three-count suit, White is seeking an unspecified judgment, plus costs and other relief the court deems just.

Tarun Rana of Kodner, Watkins, Muchnick and Weigley in St. Louis will be representing her.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 10-L-137.

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