Trial under way in Hylla's court over Collinsville accident
A lawsuit involving a car accident between two Collinsville women was heard Tuesday in Madison County Circuit Court.
Jurors sat in Judge Dave Hylla's courtroom to hear arguments over a March 23, 2007 accident.
Betty A. Weckmann, 58, represented by Mark D. Hassakis of Mount Vernon, is suing Dorothy B. Bonn, in excess of $50,000 plus court costs for allegedly rear-ending her vehicle on northbound Illinois State Route 157 in Glen Carbon.
Weckmann claims the 89-year-old Bonn violated simple safety rules while driving her 1995 Ford.
Hassakis said in court that Weckmann is seeking compensation for harms and losses incurred due to the accident. Court papers say Bonn operated her vehicle at a speed too fast for conditions and followed the vehicle more closely than was reasonable. She also allegedly failed to stop her vehicle in time to avoid the collision.
Hassakis claims the verdict will help fix and make up for harms and losses.
"The verdict money will help fix the financial losses, pain and loss of life and the wages lost while out of work," he said. After medical treatment, he said, "Betty is getting her life back."
Weckmann's husband, Clark Weckmann, was also a named plaintiff in the suit. He alleges suffering the loss of services of his wife, prior to her injuries. He claims being deprived of her affection, society, companionship and consortium.
According to the complaint, Weckmann has been and will continue to be hindered and prevented from transacting and attending to his usual affairs, and has incurred expense in having the services performed form him which had previously been performed by his wife and will be compelled in the future to expend sums of money for the services which his wife could and would have performed for him.
Defense attorney James Hodges, of Reed Armstrong in Belleville, said Bonn had been driving two to three miles over the 45-mile per hour speed limit. She slowed down and saw that she had bumped into the rear of Weckmann's vehicle.
Officer Andrew Parker from the Glen Carbon Police Department testified that he was the original officer who arrived at the scene and that the vehicles were parked off the road when he arrived.
Parker spoke to Weckmann who said her neck was numb, and she had felt more than one impact from the other vehicle.
Bonn's testimony was shown in court by video. She said she wasn't hurt.
Parker testified that Weckmann did nothing to contribute to the collision. He did not notice any visible damage or paint transfer from one vehicle to the next.
At the time of the accident, Bonn testified that she was driving from Collinsville to her retirement center, Meridian Village, and wanted to get back as soon as she could. She said she thought she was "quite a ways back from the other car." She said she remembered only one impact. She testified that at some point, she saw that she would not be able to slow down before striking the other vehicle.
"I hit my breaks and was unable to stop before I hit her," Bonn said.
Weckmann claims there was an initial impact, plus a second hit. She was evaluated in the emergency room the day after the accident and went to a doctor April 3, 2007 and hadn't seen a doctor in four years.
On Sept. 13, 2007, she complained about neck pain and was referred to a neurosurgeon. Weckmann had tried to return to work but her problems with her back and neck persisted.
The testimony of Dr. Nicholas E. Poulous was shown in court by video. Poulous, a neurosurgeon, specializes in repair of the brain, neck and spine.
He said she had two degenerated neck discs. They tried neuropathic medicines to control symptoms and avoid surgery, but she wound up having surgery in September 2009, according to the testimony.
Closing arguments and the remainder of the case were expected to be heard Wednesday.
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