Madison - St. Clair Record

Friday, April 3, 2020

Gateway Motorsports Park denies liability, says man died from preexisting medical condition following go-cart crash

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Jun 28, 2017

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Gateway Motorsports Park argues that a man who was killed following a go-cart crash two years ago died due to preexisting medical conditions and signed a liability release before using the go-carts.

The 36-count May lawsuit was filed by Flora Odum, the surviving spouse of Thomas Odum, against Gateway Kartplex, Abbot Ambulance, Hertz Cops., Gateway Acquisitions, American Medical Response of Illinois, Gateway Motorsports, Gateway International Motorsports Corp. and Gateway Motorsports Corp. She also filed the suit on behalf of daughter Erin Kuehnel.

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

Flora Odum alleges the defendants failed to have first responders available to provide rescue services to her husband. She also claims that when an ambulance did arrive, it did not have the proper medical equipment and training to help him.

As a result, she alleges the decedent’s family members watched him suffer for approximately 25 minutes following the wreck before “proper” emergency services arrived on scene.

Flora Odum further alleges the decedent received extensive and on-going medical care to treat his injuries and later died as a result of the incident.

The lawsuit alleges riders were not adequately trained as to safety procedures, the go-cart issued to the decedent was not equipped with a seat belt and was not safe for operating at high speeds.

Flora Odum also claims the defendants “continued the racing that day” despite the wreck.

Gateway Motorsports Park, Gateway Kartplex and Gateway Acquisitions answered the complaint on June 20 through attorney Michael Bedesky of Reed Armstrong Mudge & Morrisssey PC in Edwardsville.

They argue in their affirmative defenses that the decedent executed a release prior to using the go-carts, allegedly barring the plaintiff’s claims.

They also argue that “the sole proximate cause of the decedent’s death was a preexisting medical condition over which Defendants had no control, and which caused the incident described in Plaintiff’s complaint.”

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

The plaintiff is represented by J. Brad Wilmoth of Page Law in Kirkwood, Mo.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 17-L-632

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Organizations in this Story

Reed, Armstrong Mudge & MorrisseyMadison County Circuit Court