Cook and Schroer
A St. Clair County jury awarded a motorist more than $450,000 in a trial involving a Millstadt collision.
Plaintiff Taylor Helfrich was awarded $457,223.75 on Aug. 20 following a two-day trial in St. Clair County Circuit Judge Chris Kolker’s courtroom.
She was represented at trial by Bruce R. Cook of Cook Bartholomew Shevlin Cook & Jones in Belleville.
Defendant Kaylee Poston was represented at trial by Michael Schroer and Adam Johnson of Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith in Edwardsville.
Helfrich, of Millstadt, filed her original complaint on Nov. 15, 2017 against Kaylee and Jason Poston. She filed an amended complaint on July 10 against just Kaylee Poston.
In her complaint, the plaintiff alleges she was driving northbound on South Jefferson Street at Elm Street in Millstadt on May 24, 2017, at approximately 1:50 p.m. South Jefferson Street does not have a stop sign while Elm Street does require motorists to stop for traffic, giving traffic on South Jefferson Street the right of way.
At the same time, Kaylee Poston was driving a 2008 Chevrolet Equinox owned by Jason Poston. She was allegedly driving east on Elm Street and was attempting to turn left from a stop sign when she proceeded into the intersection and struck Helfrich’s vehicle.
Helfrich claims the force of the collision caused her to veer off the roadway, over a curb and into a utility pole.
As a result, she allegedly suffered injuries to her head, neck, back, legs, ankles and internal and external organs.
Helfrich claims Poston negligently and carelessly failed to keep a proper lookout for cross traffic, failed to keep her vehicle under proper control, failed to properly apply the brakes, failed to yield the right of way, and failed to stop at the stop sign.
Poston answered the amended complaint on Aug. 6. She admits that she negligently failed to yield to the plaintiff’s vehicle, which was traveling northbound with the right of way. She denies the remaining allegations against her.
She also admits that the plaintiff was injured as a result of the collision, but denies the remaining claims in regards to injuries and damages.
During a Nov. 10, 2018, deposition, Poston testified that she had been taking her friends home after the last day of school and was not familiar with the intersection at issue.
Poston admitted fault but claimed a building was blocking her view at the stop sign, so she inched forward to get a better look at traffic when she collided with the plaintiff’s vehicle. She testified that she couldn’t see around the building and did not see the plaintiff’s vehicle approaching the intersection. She added that she believed Helfrich was speeding and “skidded” Poston's car before running into the pole.
Poston testified that she received a ticket following the collision, which was later dismissed. She claimed that the officer gave her a ticket but said "he's had other incidents like this," according to her deposition.
Helfrich responded by filing a motion for summary judgment on Nov. 16, 2018, arguing that Poston admitted fault while speaking with the police following the incident, adding that the collision occurred in Helfrich’s lane of traffic.
“In the conclusion of her deposition, the defendant admitted she went into plaintiff’s lane of traffic, before it was clear, striking the plaintiff’s vehicle, knocking it into a telephone pole,” the motion states.
St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 17-L-674