Drivers accused of hitting Belleville cop’s patrol vehicle, deny allegations

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Apr 28, 2015

Defendants named in a Belleville police officer’s personal injury lawsuit have denied the allegations against them.

Officer Michael Seibel filed his lawsuit on Jan. 6 against Taylor E. Sodam and Jacquelyn M. Yarber.

According to the lawsuit, Seibel responded to an accident on westbound state Route 15 near its overpass with Charles Street in Belleville on March 2, 2013. At the same time, Sodam was driving west on the same road when she lost control of her vehicle and struck Seibel’s parked cruiser.

Following the impact, Seibel emerged out of his damaged vehicle and walked behind it to see the extent of the damage, the suit states.

Seibel claims Yarber was driving the same direction when she also lost control of her vehicle.

“As the plaintiff was in the projected path of travel of Yarber’s vehicle, and as his vehicle was behind him and an impact from defendant Yarber’s vehicle was imminent, the plaintiff jumped up on the trunk of his vehicle to avoid having his legs crushed between the two vehicles, and was subsequently thrown from the trunk of his car as a consequence of the impact from defendant Yarber’s vehicle,” the suit states.

As a result, Seibel allegedly suffered neck and back injuries, endured disability and disfigurement, endured great physical pain and mental anguish. He also alleges he lost his normal life, incurred medical costs and suffered from a seriously impaired earning capacity.

Seibel blames the defendants for causing the collision, saying they drove too fast, failed to stay within their lanes, failed to keep their vehicles under proper control and failed to keep a proper lookout.

Yarber denied the allegations in her Jan. 29 answer to the complaint.

Sodam also denied the allegations in her Feb. 12 answer to the complaint. She demands a trial by jury.

Seibel seeks a judgment of more than $100,000, plus costs.

Associate Judge Randall Kelley scheduled a mandatory status conference for June 17 at 8:30 a.m.

Matthew J. Marlen of Belleville represents the plaintiff.

Dale L. Bode of Walker and Williams in Belleville represents Yarber.

Christopher B. Bortz of Neville, Richards & Wuller in Belleville represents Sodam.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 15-L-1

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