Parents blame car rental agency for collision that caused daughter's death

Kelly Holleran Mar. 2, 2010, 12:39pm

The parents of a deceased woman claim their daughter may not have died had Enterprise Rent-a-Car not let a third party rent a vehicle for an unqualified driver.

Leah and Jonathan D. Payne claim their daughter, Bethany Payne, was driving at the intersection of 14th Street and Helena Avenue on Dec. 2, 2008, when Glen Allen Keel III, who was driving a car from defendant Enterprise, struck her.

"As a direct and proximate cause of the Defendants' negligence herein, Bethany Payne was tragically and wrongfully killed," the suit filed Feb. 22 in Jefferson County District Court states.

At the time Enterprise rented out its vehicle, it knew Keel would not be authorized to drive the car, according to the complaint. So, it encouraged Keel to find another qualified person to rent the car for him, the complaint says.

The suit does not state why Keel would not be authorized to drive the car.

When defendant Bobby Green arrived at Enterprise to rent the car for Keel, Enterprise negligently allowed the transaction to occur, the Paynes claim.

Because of Enterprise's willingness to rent the vehicle in such a fashion, Bethany Payne died, according to the complaint.

Now, the Paynes say they suffer mental anguish, have lost the companionship and society of their daughter and have suffered pecuniary loss. In addition, they incurred funeral and burial costs, the suit states.

They are seeking an unspecified judgment, plus interest, costs and other relief to which they may be entitled.

Jennifer Job Seale and Kendall S. Cockrell of Provost and Umphrey Law Firm in Beaumont will be representing them.

The case has been assigned to Judge Bob Wortham, 58th District Court.

Jefferson County District Court case number: A186-088.

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