Madison - St. Clair Record

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Trucking escort company denies liability in suit alleging cargo struck bridge

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Feb 14, 2018

A trucking escort company argues that a trucker should have stopped or attempted to avoid a bridge in a suit alleging the truck’s cargo struck the bottom of an I-64 overpass.

J&D Trucking Inc., a Colorado Corporation, filed the suit on Dec. 28 against Emerald Equipment Escorts LLC, Carla Hendrix, doing business as Eddie’s Pilot Car Service, and Ed Hendrix, doing business as Eddie’s Pilot Car Service.

According to the complaint, J&D Trucking alleges that on Dec. 29, 2012, one of the company’s drivers was operating a carrier in Illinois after Walters Metal Corporation contracted with Universal Am-Cam Ltd. and/or Mason and Dixon Lines, Inc. to haul cargo to Baytown, Texas.

The pilot car hired by Universal and/or Mason and Dixon was owned or operated by Emerald Equipment Escorts.

The pole on the escort vehicle was set by the defendants to ensure that any underpass or signs allowed sufficient clearance for the load to pass beneath them, the suit states.

The plaintiff alleges that when the pilot car drove under the underside of the Herrin Road Bridge over I-64, the pole on the escort vehicle struck the underside of the bridge. The truck driver was advised to move to one side and was informed that the load would clear the bridge.

However, when J&D Trucking’s driver drove under the bridge, the cargo struck the underside of the bridge and damaged the tractor trailer.

The plaintiff alleges the defendants failed to correctly measure the load to ensure that it had proper clearance under the bridge, failed to ensure that he pilot car’s pole was properly installed to ensure that the load had proper clearance, failed to perform a route survey and failed to add an additional three inches to the total height of the load as required by Illinois regulation.

Emerald Equipment Escorts answered the complaint on Feb. 12 through attorney Tyler C. Thompson in Maryland Heights, denying liability.

In its affirmative defenses, the defendant argues that the plaintiff’s alleged damages are a direct result of J&D Trucking’s own negligence.

The defendant argues that the plaintiff failed to keep a careful lookout and failed to mitigate damages. It also argues that the driver knew or should have known there was a reasonable likelihood of collision and should have stopped, swerved and slackened speed, but failed to do so.

The plaintiff seeks compensation of more than $50,000, plus costs, for each count.

It is represented by Samuel A. Mormino Jr. of Alton.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 17-L-1757

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