Wife accuses trailer manufacturer of wrongful death

By The Madison County Record | Oct 8, 2014

Bruce R. Cook

The wife of a man killed while working on Interstate 64 claims a defective piece of equipment is to blame.

Josie Lee Beard, special administrator of the estate of Dennis James Beard, filed a lawsuit against John Thomas Inc. on Sept. 29 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

According to the complaint, on May 12, 2012, Dennis Beard was working for Brightway Striping Services Company as a construction laborer removing and installing raised pavement markers on Interstate 64. Near the 13-mile marker, eastbound in Caseyville, "he was struck by a Vorteq trailer mounted crash attenuator" after it was hit by a vehicle. The trailer was sold by John Thomas Inc., the lawsuit says.

Dennis Beard's wife, Josie Beard, says she discovered in September 2012 that the defendant had "failed to provide necessary equipment" to Brightway Leasing Corporation including the attentuator's pintel hitch and necessary instructions for the equipment's use and repair.

Josie accuses John Thomas Inc. of wrongful death for allegedly designing, manufacturing and improperly assembling a defective piece of equipment. She says the attenuator's anti-rotational design "failed to engage, allowing the device to rotate and strike Dennis James Bear who was standing adjacent" to it.

Josie brings this complaint on behalf of the couple's three children, ages 6, 10 and 14. She asks to be awarded more than $50,000 for loss of society, companionship, support, love and affection.

Attorneys Bruce R. Cook and Bruce N. Cook of Belleville represents Beard.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 14-L-661.

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