Kelly Holleran Jul. 31, 2013, 7:33am

A St. Clair County resident has filed suit against the truck driver who he claims rear-ended the horse trailer he was hauling behind his truck.

Billy J. McEwen claims he was driving a Chevrolet Silverado with a horse trailer attached north near mile post 24 on U.S. Interstate 55 on Oct. 13, 2011, when defendant James Owens, who was driving a 1996 Peterbilt Motors truck tractor in the same direction, struck the back of McEwen’s horse trailer.

“After the back end of the truck and horse trailer of Billy J. McEwen was struck by the vehicle driven by James E. Owens, the front end of the plaintiff’s vehicle was forced into the back end of a trailer being pulled by a 1999 Volvo truck tractor operated by Jason B. Jaco of Jackson, Missouri,” the suit states.

The collision, which occurred in a construction zone, caused McEwen to suffer severe and permanent injuries, to endure great pain and anguish, to incur medical costs and to lose wages, the complaint says.

McEwen blames Owens for causing the collision, saying he negligently failed to reduce his speed to avoid a collision, sped in a construction zone, followed McEwen’s vehicle too closely, drove too fast, improperly utilized a lane and drove recklessly, among other negligent acts.

In addition to Owens, McEwen names his employers, JWK Enterprises and SCK Transport, as defendants. JWK had failed to properly investigate Owens’s driving record and made insufficient efforts to investigate whether he was a safe driver before it hired him, according to the complaint.

In his complaint, McEwen is seeking a judgment of more than $350,000, plus costs.

He will be represented by Steven C. Giacoletto of Giacoletto Law Firm in Collinsville.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 13-L-1216.

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