Family of Bethalto couple killed in accident sues drivers, Affirmative Insurance

By Andrea Dearden | Nov 7, 2012


The family of a Bethalto couple killed in a head-on car crash is suing the drivers that allegedly caused the crash and the insurance company that allegedly destroyed evidence.

Jeffrey M. McCormick, on behalf of the estates of Leonard McCormick and Shirley McCormick, filed a lawsuit Oct. 16 in Madison County Circuit Court against Kodijah Bledsoe, Elvanus Watts and Affirmative Insurance Services Inc.

The crash that killed Jeffrey and Shirley McCormick happened June 15 as the couple was traveling east on Illinois Route 143 in East Alton, according to the complaint. At the same time, Bledsoe and Watts were driving separate cars westbound on Route 143, also known as Berm Road. The highway is a four-lane road divided by a median with a speed limit of 55 miles per hour.

Watts, for unknown reasons, allegedly stopped or nearly stopped his car in the left travel lane of the highway. Bledsoe, who was traveling behind Watts, then crashed into the back of Watts' car, the petition reads. McCormick claims the collision forced Watts' car into the eastbound lanes of Highway 143, causing it to hit the McCormick's vehicle head-on. Both Leonard and Shirley died from their injuries, according to McCormick.

McCormick claims Bledsoe's insurance carrier, Affirmative Insurance Services, had a duty to preserve and make available all material evidence related to the crash. However, McCormick alleges Affirmative destroyed documents and information and even had Bledsoe's car demolished before an investigation could be completed.

Bledsoe and Watts are accused of negligence and wrongful death in causing the crash that allegedly killed the McCormicks. Affirmative Insurance is accused of willful and wanton spoliation of evidence. The McCormick family asks for more than $600,000 in damages and costs of the lawsuit.

They are represented by attorney G. Michael Stewart of Alton.

Madison County Circuit Court Case Nos. 12-L-1669, 12-L-1670

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