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Friday, October 18, 2019

St. Clair County jury awards woman $100,000 in suit alleging motorist crashed into restaurant


By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Jul 31, 2019

Keane and Murphy

A St. Clair County jury awarded a woman $100,000 in a suit alleging she was injured when a motorist drove through the side of an O'Fallon pizza restaurant. 

The two-day trial ended July 24 in St. Clair County Circuit Judge Heinz Rudolf’s courtroom after jurors returned a verdict in favor of plaintiff Sara Seibel.

Seibel was awarded $15,000 for loss of a normal life, $50,000 for pain and suffering, and $35,000 for medical expenses. 

Seibel was represented at trial by Ryan Keane and Nathaniel Carroll of Keane Law LLC in St. Louis

Defendant Miltha Williams is represented by Michael Murphy and John M. Skrabacz of Freeark Harvey & Mendillo PC in Bellville.

The case had been previously assigned to Chief Judge Andrew Gleeson. In March, the plaintiffs filed a motion for a substitution of judge from Circuit Judge Stephen McGlynn.

Seibel filed the two-count complaint on Dec. 18, 2017 with co-plaintiff Steven Oritz.

According to the complaint, they were sitting at a booth in Gia’s Pizza in O’Fallon on Oct. 18, 2016 at approximately 6:30 p.m. when Williams, who was driving a 2011 Honda Accord, allegedly drove her vehicle into the restaurant.

The suit stated that Williams was driving her vehicle westbound on East State Street, approaching a four-way stop sign at its intersection with South Lincoln Avenue in O’Fallon, when she failed to stop. She allegedly accelerated instead of slowing down. Williams crashed into a white Nissan Frontier pickup truck and continued to accelerate, causing her to crash into a Nissan Altima sedan. After striking the sedan, Williams allegedly continued to accelerate, pushing the sedan out of the way and smashing her Honda Accord into the side of the Gia’s Pizza restaurant.

“Just before the collision, plaintiffs were enjoying an outing at Gia’s Pizza with family,” the suit states. “Suddenly, the brick wall exploded into the restaurant immediately adjacent to where plaintiffs were seated.

“Defendant’s vehicle, bricks from the wall, and other debris struck plaintiffs’ bodies. The impact of the collision of defendant’s vehicle into the wall of the pizzeria catapulted plaintiff Sara Seibel out of her seat and across the inside of the restaurant,” the suit stated.

The plaintiffs alleged Williams negligently operated her vehicle by failing to maintain a proper and sufficient lookout, failing to stop at a stop sign, failing to decrease speed, driving upon a sidewalk, driving in a reckless manner and failing to keep control over her vehicle, among other allegations.

As a result, Seibel alleges she suffered internal and external injuries to her neck, back, left knee, left hip, left leg and right shoulder. She also alleges she suffered permanent nerve damage.

Oritz alleged he suffered internal and external injuries to his left knee, back and right hip.

Williams filed an amended answer to the complaint on July 15, denying that she continued to accelerate during the collision. However, she admits that her vehicle struck the side of the building where Gia’s Pizza is located.

Each plaintiff sought a judgment of more than $100,000, plus attorneys’ fees and costs.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 17-L-744

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Organizations in this Story

Freeark, Harvey and Mendillo PC Keane Law LLC St. Clair County Circuit Court

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