A lawsuit alleging two passengers were injured when a motorist struck the rear of a Metro transit bus is at trial in Madison County Associate Judge Steven Stobbs’ courtroom.
The trial began Oct. 15.
Plaintiffs Lisa Boda and Prester L. Graves are represented at trial by Charles Armbruster and Mike Blotevogel of Armbruster, Dripps, Winterscheidt & Blotevogel LLC in Maryville.
Defendants Eric Fry and Agency for Community Transit Inc. are represented by Donald J. Ohl of Knapp Ohl & Green in Edwardsville.
Anna Rodriguez is represented by Michael P. Murphy of Freeark Harvey & Mendillo PC in Belleville.
Boda filed her four-count complaint in November 2015 against Rodriguez, Fry and Madison County Transit, which was later substituted with defendant Agency for Community Transit Inc. Fry was the driver of the bus.
The case was consolidated with Graves’ case on March 23, 2016.
According to the complaint, the plaintiffs allege they were passengers on a Madison County Metro East Transit bus on March 9, 2015. At approximately 3:30 p.m., the bus was stopped in the easternmost, northbound traffic lane on Milton Road at its intersection with Coronado as passengers were loading.
At the same time, Rodriguez was driving a Chevrolet Cavalier in the same lane as the bus when she allegedly struck the rear of the bus, the suit states.
The plaintiffs allege Rodriguez failed to keep her vehicle under proper control, operated her vehicle at a speed which was greater than reasonable, failed to brake or avoid colliding with the bus, failed to keep a proper lookout and failed to yield the right-of-way.
As a result, Boda claims she suffered injuries to her neck and back as well as trauma to her head and neurological system. Graves claims he suffered injuries to his neck and back.
In her answer to the complaint, Rodriguez denies liability. She argues that any alleged injuries “were not directly or proximately caused by any act or omission of defendant, but were the result of independent causes over which defendant had no control and which were not known to or reasonably foreseeable by defendant.”
Fry sought to dismiss the complaint, arguing that “the mere fact that the bus was stopped at a bus stop in order to load passengers does not establish that the bus driver was negligent.”
Fry and Agency for Community Transit filed a counterclaim against Rodriguez on Feb. 17, 2016. They argue that if they are found liable, then they are entitled to contribution from Rodriquez.
According to Rodriguez’s motion in limine filed Oct. 15, the defendant has admitted she is at fault for the collision.
“Therefore, the only remaining issue with respect to defendant Rodriguez is whether the plaintiffs were damaged and to what extent plaintiffs were damaged,” the motion states.
Rodriguez also seeks to bar the claim that she was using her cell phone at the time of the collision.
“There is no evidence to support these statements,” the motion in limine states. “Given that defendant has already admitted fault for the accident, any evidence regarding the alleged use of any cell phone would be highly prejudicial, not relevant and would constitute reversible trial error.”
Madison County Circuit Court case number 15-L-1436 and 15-L-1437