Motorcycle shop sued by widow over detached wheel

By Steve Gonzalez | Feb 13, 2008

The widow of a man who died during a motorcycle crash filed a wrongful death suit against Ted's Motorcycle World in Madison County Circuit Court Feb. 7, alleging the motorcycle shop failed to repair her husband's motorcycle correctly.

Toni Hanke claims her husband Lawrence died on March 24, 2007, when the front wheel of his 2004 FLHR1 3-wheeled Harley Davidson came off causing it to leave the roadway, ejecting Lawrence from the bike causing him to strike his head and body which caused his death.

According to the complaint, Lawrence died from a blunt cranial and cervical trauma. He was operating his motorcycle in a southbound direction on Clifton Terrace, near Route 3 when the front wheel allegedly came off.

Hanke claims her husband purchased the motorcycle from Alton-based Ted's Motorcycle World on May 9, 2006.

She claims that shortly after the purchase, Ted's performed repairs on the Harley and during the repairs attempted to reattach the front wheel to the motorcycle.

Hanke claims Ted's was negligent by carelessly attaching the front wheel after making repairs to the motorcycle, failed to attach the wheel so that it would not come off when used in its normal and expected operation and failed to follow Harley Davidson's written instructions in attaching the front wheel so that it would not come off when used.

Hanke claims she has sustained great and irreparable harm as a result of her husband's death and has been deprived of his love, affection, intimacy, society, guidance, counsel, companionship, services and support.

She also claims her two daughters, Stacey and Sarah, also have been deprived of their father's love and support.

Hanke further claims her husband suffered physical injuries, severe emotional distress and conscious pain and suffering for a measurable period of time before his death, including the loss of enjoyment of life.

She further states that she incurred funeral and burial expenses in excess of $5,000.

Represented by Jennifer Suttmoeller, John Marshall and Leonard Cervantes of Cervantes & Associates and Edward Vancil of St. Louis, Hanke is seeking damages in excess of $100,000, plus costs of the suit and pre-judgment interest.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Daniel Stack.

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