Defense verdict reached in auto accident trial

Christina Stueve Apr. 11, 2012, 10:25am


A jury in Madison County Circuit Judge David Hylla's courtroom found in favor of the defendant Wednesday following a three-day trial over a car accident in 2009 on the campus of Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.

"We're obviously pleased with the verdict," said defense attorney Martin Morrissey. "We think the jury made the appropriate decision."

Plaintiff's attorney Rick Reed had no comment. He requested that Hylla poll all 12 jurors after the verdict was read.

Hylla asked all jurors "Was this then and is this now your verdict?"

They replied "Yes."

Katrina Biggs, 50, was injured when her 2007 Dodge Caliber was struck from behind on Cougar Lake Drive by Jennifer Trgovich's 2002 Jeep Wrangler at 5:55 a.m. on Jan. 26, 2009.

Reed requested the jury award Biggs more than $8,000 for her injuries.

Biggs accused Trgovich of failing to stop behind her vehicle and for failing to keep her vehicle under control. She also claimed Trgovich failed to reduce the speed of her vehicle to avoid a collision.

"The case you heard is a case about exacerbation of a pre-existing condition of her neck," Reed said. "This is about evidence and testimony.

"You have to consider if Ms. Biggs was injured in the accident and if so, how much."

According to Reed, Biggs had a "boat load of other conditions," in reference to her back and medications, but the only exacerbation was to her neck.

"It's something she does have a right to recover for," Reed said.

Reed told the jury the doctors didn't take her off work for more than a week.

Morrissey told the jury the case was about money.

"Jennifer Trgovich is a good person who's worthy of your belief," Morrissey said. "I do think there was something going on in her (Biggs') life. There was a situation."

After the accident, Biggs testified her chest hit the steering wheel, and her knees hit the bottom of the car.

"It just jarred me really hard," she said.

Biggs testified she saw a doctor after the accident, who took X-rays, gave her shots and medicine. She told him how much pain she was in. She was taking more pain medication than ever and that doctor suggested that she see a neurologist.

She also testified about having lower back problems, neck problems and rheumatory arthritis before the accident. She stated that she took the prescription drugs Prozac and Xanax for anxiety.

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