Garda sued over recent car fire fatality

Kelly Holleran Nov. 22, 2010, 4:55am


An Effingham County woman has filed suit against armored truck service company Garda and the driver of one of its trucks that collided with her deceased husband, causing him to burn to death after he became trapped in his car when it caught on fire following the collision.

Vicki Painter claims her recently deceased husband, James L. Painter, was driving east on Illinois Highway 16 on Nov. 1 at about 12:25 p.m. about two miles west of Windsor. At the same time, defendant James W. Adair, who was driving a Garda truck west on the same road, attempted to pass another vehicle and struck James L. Painter's vehicle head on, according to the complaint.

Adair resides in Troy, the suit states.

"The collision caused by Defendant Garda's armored truck crossing the centerline trapped Decedent in his vehicle, and further caused Decedent's vehicle to catch fire," the suit states. "Decedent survived the initial impact of the collision, suffering injuries and great pain, but later died as a result of being trapped in the vehicle and burning to death."

Because of her husband's death, Vicki Painter incurred burial and funeral costs and lost her husband's love, services, companionship, comfort, instruction, guidance, counsel, training and support, the complaint says. She also claims she lost her husband's financial support.

Adair negligently crossed the center line into oncoming traffic, attempted to pass a vehicle on a two-way highway without ensuring there was no oncoming traffic and failed to keep a proper lookout, according to the complaint.

In her two-count complaint, Vicki Painter is seeking actual damages of more than $150,000, plus costs and other relief the court deems just.

Vicki Painter will be represented by John J. Carey, Joseph P. Danis, Jeffrey J. Lowe, Michael J. O'Malley and Andrew J. Cross of Carey, Danis and Love in St. Louis.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 10-L-1146.

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