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Passenger claims he was hurt as driver fled police

By Molly English-Bowers | May 4, 2016

BELLEVILLE – The passenger in a motor vehicle is suing over injuries he says he received when the driver of the vehicle was fleeing police.

Darian Woods filed the suit April 26 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Samuel A. Mitchell.

On Nov. 28, 2015, the plaintiff was riding in the back seat of Mitchell's car in Caseyville when the defendant committed a traffic infraction and refused to pull over for a police officer, according to the complaint.

Instead, the suit alleges, Mitchell accelerated and eventually lost control of his vehicle at a railroad crossing, left the road, and struck the railroad signal, allegedly causing Woods to sustain injuries.

Woods claims Mitchell negligently attempted to elude a police officer, drove while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, drove at a speed greater than the speed limit and failed to keep his vehicle on the roadway.

As a result, the plaintiff allegedly suffered a fracture to a vertebra in his spine, the suit states. He claims he will continue to incur medical bills, has lost wages and will do so in the future and has experienced diminution of his quality of life.

Further, according to the complaint, the defendant's conduct when attempting to flee the police was willful and wanton, callous and reckless, entitling the plaintiff to punitive damages, the complaint alleges.

The plaintiff seeks actual damages in excess of $50,000 and punitive damages of $100.000 plus court costs. He is represented by John H. Leskera of Leskera Law Firm in Collinsville.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 16-L-227

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St. Clair County Circuit Court