Wrongful Death suit seeks $3 M after tractor-trailer collision

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau Jan. 2, 2008, 5:24am

TEXARKANA -- The family of a Sara Lee Bakery Group employee is seeking more than $3 million after a tractor-trailer collision led to fatal injuries of Lamar County resident James Watkins.

According to court documents, a Calhoun Transportation Services owned tractor-trailer driven by Vernon G. Graves crossed the median of Interstate 20 in Louisiana and collided head-on into the tractor-trailer occupied by James Watkins.

The Watkins family filed a wrongful death suit against Calhoun Transportation Services on Dec. 28, 2007,in the Texarkana Division of the Eastern District of Texas.

The plaintiffs state the defendant Calhoun Transportation, as a motor carrier, is responsible for the "negligent acts or omissions" of its employee Graves.

The suit alleges the defendant is negligent or negligent per se through the driver's failure to pay attention or keep a proper lookout, failing to drive at a safe speed or apply brakes in a timely manner, and failing to take evasive action to avoid the collision. The plaintiffs also contend the tractor-trailer violated applicable statutory regulations.

Citing Louisiana's Wrongful Death and Survival Actions codes, the plaintiffs are seeking more than $3 million in damages including the loss of financial support, love care, comfort, supervision, guidance, household assistance, and general society provided by the deceased.

Edward D. Ellis and R. Wesley Tidwell of the Texarkana law firm Ellis and Tidwell, L.L.P. are representing the plaintiffs.

Judge T. John Ward will preside over the litigation.

Case No. 5:07cv196

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