Madison - St. Clair Record

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Accident victim’s parents allege reckless driver was a drug user

By Carol Ostrow | Sep 16, 2015

A Madison County mother and father are bringing a driver to court on charges of negligent entrustment in a 2013 roadway collision that injured their daughter.

Lauri S. Paitz and Jacob B. Paitz filed a lawsuit on Aug. 24 in Madison County Circuit Court individually and as next friends of minor Audrey L. Paitz, against Darren Wendt, alleging that he recklessly lent his vehicle to Amanda Copeland of Collinsville in August 2013.

According to the complaint, Jacob Paitz was transporting his wife and daughter headed southbound on Highway 157 near its junction with Main Street in Glen Carbon on or about Aug. 23, 2013. The plaintiffs maintain that when their vehicle was stopped at a red light, Wendt’s vehicle “slammed into and collided with the rear” of the plaintiff’s car, causing it to run into a third vehicle.

The lawsuit states that Wendt, who was Copeland’s roommate or boyfriend, is guilty of negligent entrustment based on allegations that Copeland was a habitual drug user. Knowing that she was likely to be impaired and under the influence of controlled substances, the suit states, the defendant owed a duty to prevent Copeland from driving his car.

Audrey’s parents allege that she sustained severe injuries and scarring, disability, anguish, loss of a normal life, and medical expenses. Lauri Paitz was also allegedly injured.

The plaintiffs seek judgment in their favor for more than $50,000 plus attorneys’ fees and costs. They are represented by Brian Wendler and Ellen Burford of Wendler Law in Edwardsville, Illinois.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 15-L-1076

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