The estate of Cedrick B. Gasper filed a wrongful death suit against Beelman Truck, Ryterski Trucking and truck driver Steven Shaw in St. Clair County Circuit Court July 3, alleging Gasper died after a collision.

According to the complaint, Gasper was sitting on the rear bumper of a pickup truck within a construction zone on Highway 15 and Green Mount Road in Belleville on June 2, when a semi tractor trailer operated by Shaw, a Ryterski employee "barreled" through several bright orange construction barricades and struck the truck Gasper was sitting on.

"The force of the impact launched Decedent into the air," the complaint states.

The estate alleges Gasper was airlifted to St. Louis University Hospital where he died after suffering significant conscious pain and suffering.

Gasper's estate alleges the truck Shaw was operating for Ryterski was leased through Beelman.

The estate alleges Shaw had a duty to exercise the degree of care that a reasonable person would use to avoid harm to highway construction workers and that the injuries Gasper received were the result of Shaw's negligence, carelessness and reckless disregard of his duty.

The estate alleges Shaw was negligent, careless and in reckless disregard by:

  • Speeding;

  • Speeding through a highway construction zone;

  • Failing to keep a lookout as a person of ordinary prudence would have under similar circumstances;

  • Failing to apply the brakes to avoid colliding with Gasper; and

  • Failing to take any evasive action to avoid the collision.

    His estate alleges Beelman and Ryterski knew, or should have known, that Shaw was a reckless and incompetent truck driver who presented an unreasonable risk of harm to others on the highways and had a duty to prevent him from operating a truck.

    Gasper's estate alleges that his next of kin suffered great losses of a pecuniary nature subjecting the defendants to liability under the Wrongful Death Act.

    The estate is seeking damages in excess of $250,000 for loss of companionship, care, solace and society, loss of services, future wages, funeral expenses and attorney's fees.

    Chicago attorney E. Lynette Denton is representing the estate with assistance from Nuru Witherspoon of Dallas.

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