Suit alleges family lost leased Alton home to drunk driver, asbestos, and arson

By Angelica Saylo Pilo | Dec 13, 2018


EDWARDSVILLE — A woman and her children claim an intoxicated driver struck their leased Alton home, rendering the property uninhabitable from asbestos debris and causing the home to become a target for arson. 

Celia Pauli/Pellegrino, , as next friend of Ava Pellegrino and Sebastian Pellegrino, her minor children, filed a complaint on Nov. 29 in the Madison County Circuit Court against Randy Beckman, Carol Beckman, Bobby Ray McCane and Johnson’s Corner, alleging the Beckmans breached their duty to protect them from harm and to protect their properties.

According to the complaint, Celia Pellegrino alleges she and her children were leasing a property located at 1905 State Street in Alton from the Beckmans. On Sept. 23, 2017, McCane was driving a 2005 Jeep Cherokee when he struck the Alton property with his vehicle around 7:42 a.m. The suit states that McCane had been drinking at Johnson’s Corner in Alton and was intoxicated at the time of the crash. McCane was arrested for driving while intoxicated following the collision. 

The crash allegedly caused debris, including friable asbestos, to filter into the air. 

Pellegrino alleges the Beckmans failed to conduct a test to measure the amount of contaminants in the airflow throughout the house and failed to hire a skilled contractor to remove or abate the asbestos and contamination from the home. 

Pellegrino claims she requested written assurances of proof of testing from the Beckmans showing that the premises could be safely inhabited. The Defendants allegedly failed and refused to provide proof that testing had been done.

The Alton property was condemned and uninhabitable and the plaintiffs were allegedly not permitted to retrieve their belongings aside from a few things they could carry with them.

As the house sat uninhabited, an arsonist allegedly set fire to the premises, resulting in a total loss. The plaintiffs allege they lost all of their possessions worth in excess of $20,000. 

The Beckmans allegedly confronted the plaintiffs at church and accused Pellegrino of starting the fire, causing her further emotional damage and harm, the suit states. The plaintiffs also allege the defendants filed a reckless police report blaming Pellegrino for the arson. 

The plaintiffs request a trial by jury and seek judgment against the defendants in an amount exceeding $50,000, plus costs, attorney's fees and all other relief that is allowed by law. They are represented by John J. Pawloski of The Law Office of John J. Pawloski LLC in St. Louis.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 18-L-1595


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John J. Pawloski LLC Madison County Circuit Court

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