Truck accident expert testifies for defense in Ste. Genevieve, Mo. tractor trailer suit trial

Amelia Flood Nov. 15, 2010, 12:11pm


Atlanta truck expert Tom Vadnais testified Monday as a Madison County trial of a tractor trailer accident case kicked off its second week.

Vadnais testified that plaintiff Thomas Edwards should have slowed down when seeing two other tractor trailers stopped along a highway in Ste. Genevieve County, Mo. three years ago. Vadnais admitted, though, that he did not see how Edwards could have avoided colliding with part of a truck that crossed the highway's median into his lane of traffic.

Thomas Edwards and his wife, Betty, are suing Millstadt Rendering Company and its truck driver, Gary Collier, for damages in excess of $50,000 for injuries Thomas Edwards suffered in the collision.

Another party, Slay Transportation Inc., Thomas Edwards' employer, intervened in the case earlier this year seeking to recover property damage caused in the Missouri crash.

Millstadt and Collier then filed counterclaims for contribution against Slay as Thomas Edwards' employer.

They claim that Thomas Edwards contributed to the accident by allowing symptoms of uncontrolled diabetes to cause him to become fatigued and to impact his eye sight.

Slay has admitted to respondent superior liability in the event the jury finds Thomas Edwards contributed to the accident.

Vadnais testified that, based on his calculations, it appeared that there was nothing Collier could have done to avoid the accident because two tires supporting his tractor trailer's load blew out for unknown reasons.

On cross examination by Thomas Edwards' attorney Eric Carlson, Vadnais testified that he did not have experience as a truck driver and he was unaware of conditions in Collier's tires such as air pressure or what caused them to fail.

Vadnais also testified on cross examination that there was nothing he had seen that would have lead him to believe Thomas Edwards could have avoided the accident.

Carlson interrupted Vadnais as several points drawing objections from Collier and Millstadt's counsel, Martin Morrissey.

Vadnais was still on the stand Monday afternoon as of 3:45 p.m. under examination by Slay's attorney Joseph Swift.

The trial will continue Tuesday.

Eric and Jon Carlson represent the Edwardses.

Morrissey and Dominique Seymoure represent Collier and Millstadt.

Swift and Michael Ward represent Slay.

Madison County Chief Judge Ann Callis presides.

The case is Madison case number 08-L-813.

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