Truck driver's inexperience contributed to accident, suit claims

Kelly Holleran May 3, 2010, 4:49pm

A driver claims he sustained severe and permanent injuries after a wheel detached from the back of a tractor-trailer and collided with the front end of his vehicle.

Regis J. Jennings and Sharon Bricker filed a lawsuit April 26 in Jefferson County District Court against Lawrence C. Haas and C. Grantham Co.

The plaintiffs claim Jennings drove a 2001 Freightliner semi-truck north on Illinois Route 127 about 575 feet south of its intersection with Hazel Dell Road in Central Township in Bond County on April 28, 2008, when a wheel on the semi-tractor being pulled by a truck Haas drove in front of Jennings became detached and "came into violent contact with the front and underside of the semi-truck driven by the Plaintiff."

At the time of the collision, Haas drove the 2005 International conventional cab and the 1986 Polar American semi-trailer for C. Grantham Co.

In addition to his injuries, Jennings experienced pain and suffering; became unable to attend to his daily tasks; incurred medical costs; became unable to pursue business employment and occupation to the same extent had he not been injured; and became deprived of great profits and wages, according to the complaint.

His wife, Sharon Bricker, suffered a loss of consortium, loss of her husband's care and comfort and incurred medical costs because of Jennings' injuries, the suit states.

Jennings blames Haas and C. Grantham Co. for failing to inspect his semi-trailer's nuts, wheels, bolts and other wheel fasteners; failed to systematically inspect, repair or maintain the semi-trailer; and traveled at an unsafe speed given the condition of the wheels.

He says Haas' inexperience, unfitness and incompetence for his job duties exacerbated the conditions leading to the collision.

"At no time on or prior to April 28, 2008, did the Co-Defendant, Lawrence C. Haas, receive complete and proper instruction or training as to the proper driving, maintenance, or inspection of semi-trucks and semi-trailers," the suit states. "That upon information and belief, at no time or prior to April 28, 2008 did the Defendant, C. Grantham Co., completely and properly instruct or train the Co-Defendant, Lawrence C. Haas, as to the federal, state, and county regulations and other laws relating to the driving, maintenance, and/or inspection of semi-trucks and semi-trailers."

In their 13-count suit, the plaintiffs seek a judgment of more than $600,000, plus costs.

They name C. Grantham Waste, Grantham Logistics and JLQ as respondents in discovery.

Jeffrey I. Cisco of Kanoski and Associates in Springfield will be representing Jennings and Bricker.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 10-L-199.

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