I-55 drivers' abrupt actions cause rear-end accident, suit claims

Kelly Holleran Oct. 28, 2011, 2:36am


A woman has filed suit against two drivers who she claim wrongly came to a sudden stop in the middle of the interstate, causing her to rear-end them.

Michele Clark claims she was driving a 2004 Chevrolet Trail Blazer west on Interstate 55 near mile post 8 in Madison on May 11 when the incident occurred.

At the same time, defendant Steven Tomei, who was driving a 2004 General Motors medium duty truck in the same direction, "stopped abruptly in the fast lane on the highway in an attempt to make an illegal U-turn through an unauthorized driveway in the median, clearly marked for emergency personnel only," the suit filed Oct. 19 in St. Clair County Circuit Court states.

Defendant Steve Gabriel was driving a 2005 Chevrolet Silverado hauling a trailer directly behind Tomei and followed him in making the illegal turn. Because of the quickness with which the men stopped to make the turn, Clark rear-ended Gabriel, according to the complaint.

Both men were working for defendant Chelsey Fence Company when the accident occurred, the complaint says.

Because of the accident, Clark claims she sustained serious and permanent injuries to her left knee, right knee, right hand, right elbow, chest, head, neck and back. In addition, she endured pain and suffering, incurred medical costs and lost income, the suit states.

She blames Tomei and Gabriel for causing the collision, saying he negligently drove too fast, disregarded traffic signals, attempted to make an illegal U-turn and improperly stopped in a lane. In addition, Tomei left the scene of the collision, the complaint says.

In her complaint, Clark is seeking a judgment of more than $150,000, plus costs and other relief the court deems just.

Carolyn G. Caruthers of Sauter Sullivan in St. Louis will be representing her.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 11-L-588.

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