Madison - St. Clair Record

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Go-cart crash prompts 36-count wrongful death suit; But coroner's verdict says man died of heart disease

By Ann Maher | May 15, 2017

The surviving spouse of a man allegedly killed following a go-cart crash two years ago at Gateway Motorsports Park has filed a 36-count wrongful death lawsuit in Madison County Circuit Court.

According to the suit filed last week, Thomas Odum was participating in a racing event for clients of Hertz and their employees at the venue in Madison on May 21, 2015, when his go-cart was thrown off track. It went past barriers and through a chain link fence, and ultimately hit a concrete structure, the suit claims.

Flora Odum alleges the track failed to have first responders available to provide rescue services to her husband, and even when an ambulance did arrive it did not have the proper medical equipment and training to help him. She claims that as a result, his family members watched him suffer for approximately 25 minutes following the wreck before "proper" emergency services arrived on scene.

She further claims that Odum received extensive and on-going medical care to treat his injuries and later died as a result of the incident and the allegedly improper emergency and medical response.

A Madison County coroner's inquiry verdict, however, states that Odum died on May 25, 2015, as a result of heart failure, or specifically arteriosclerotic and hypertensive cardiovascular disease.

Flora Odum's suit alleges that riders were not adequately trained as to safety procedures; the go-cart issued to her husband was not equipped with a seat belt, nor was it safe for operating at high speeds.

She claims that despite the wreck incident, "the Gateway Defendants continued the racing that day."

Represented by J. Brad Wilmoth of Page Law in Kirkwood, Mo, Flora Odum also brings suit on behalf of daughter Erin Kuehnel.

Co-defendants include Gateway Kartplex, Abbot Ambulance, Hertz Corp., Gateway Acquisitions, American Medical Response of Illinois, Gateway Motorsports, Gateway International Motorsports Corp. and Gateway Motorsports Corp.

According to Thomas Odum's obituary, he was 52 at the time of his death.

"He loved fast cars, dirt bikes, motorcycles, go-karts," it states in part.

"If it had a motor, he was going to play with it and eventually ride it. While most know him for being a gear head, his real passion was spending the precious moments with his grandchildren."

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Madison County Circuit Court