Collinsville Chamber denies wrongdoing in Italianfest golf cart accident

Christina Stueve Sep. 22, 2011, 8:00am

The Collinsville Chamber of Commerce denies allegations made by a Collinsville man in a personal injury suit filed in June in Madison County Circuit Court.

In its answer to the suit filed by Jeremiah Duckworth, the Chamber, represented by Shari M. Brunton of St. Louis, states Duckworth had a pre-existing condition unrelated to the alleged incident that occurred at the city's annual Italianfest in 2009.

Duckworth claims he fell off a golf cart being driven by a Chamber representative.

In the complaint, Duckworth says he was walking with friends along a street where the Chamber of Commerce was setting up for the Italianfest. Duckworth says he and his friends were offered a ride on a golf cart being driven by someone connected with the Chamber.

Duckworth claims there weren't enough seats in the golf cart, and he alleges he was told to stand on the rear platform of the cart and hold on to the roof. Duckworth claims the driver was speeding and turned the vehicle too quickly, causing him to fall from the back of the golf cart and hit his head on the street. The suit states Duckworth was in a coma for three weeks after the fall.

The Chamber said Duckworth failed to take safety precautions, allegedly exited the cart while it was moving and should have known that would be dangerous. In addition, the Chamber alleges he was drunk and unable to control himself.

"Defendant prays that the amount of any judgment which may be entered against it on Plaintiff's complaint be reduced by the percentage of Plaintiff's own contributory fault, up to 50 percent and prays for judgment in favor of Defendant and against Plaintiff in the event that Plaintiff's contributory negligence is found to be more than 50 percent of the cause of the accident involved herein.

"Defendant is entitled to immunity from the allegations of Plaintiff's Complaint pursuant to the Local Governmental and Government Employees Tort Immunity Act."

"Plaintiff is barred from bringing this suit against the Collinsville Chamber of Commerce since the suit was not commenced within one year of the alleged incident pursuant to 745 ILCS 10/8-101 et. Seq."

Duckworth is represented by attorney Donald W. Urban of Belleville. The Chamber of Commerce is represented by Shari Brunton of St. Louis.

Madison County Circuit Court Case No. 11-L-624

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