The father of a 15-year-old girl killed in a car accident in Clinton County Oct. 13, 2007 is suing the McClatchy Co., doing business as the Belleville News-Democrat, in St. Clair County Circuit Court.
John Buettikoffer claims his daughter Jenera L. Buettikoffer, a passenger in a vehicle driven by newspaper delivery driver William Beal, was ejected from Beal's 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt and suffered head trauma and "untimely death."
According to the suit filed March 3 in St. Clair County Circuit Court, Beal's vehicle, eastbound on Lee Road, collided at the intersection of Schumacher Road with a 1996 Chevrolet pickup truck being driven by Jay Schreiber who was headed northbound.
Lee Road has stop signs facing east and west, the complaint states.
Buettikoffer alleges Beal failed to obey a traffic control device, failed to concentrate on driving and drove too fast, among other things.
He also alleges the defendant negligently hired an 18-year-old male "who it knew, or should have known, based on available traffic records, was an unsafe driver due to various violations of the Illinois Vehicle Code, including in some cases being ticketed for driving 26-30 mph over the speed limit and/or...
"Negligently and carelessly hired an 18 year old male without investigating whether or not that man was fit to be driving a vehicle where he would come into contact with third parties while operating his vehicle in the scope of his employment."
According to the complaint, the defendant should have known "that William Beal was unfit to operate a motor vehicle where a condition of his employment was the timely delivery of newspapers, which creates an incentive to speed."
Seeking in excess of $200,000 in damages plus costs, Buettikoffer is represented by David Cates of Goldenberg, Heller, Antognoli, Rowland, Short & Gori of Edwardsville.