Unlicensed truck driver sued for $40 million after triple fatality collision

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau Feb. 15, 2011, 8:48am

TYLER-An unlicensed truck driver and his employer are facing a wrongful death lawsuit for more than $40 million after his semi-tractor collided into a vehicle and killed its three occupants.

Burnett McKinney Jr. and Alexandria McKinney, both individually and on behalf of the estate of Burnett McKinney III; Bryon Fuller and Alexandria McKinney, both individually and on behalf of the estate of Tre'Vion McKinney; and Sasha Anderson and Lee Blevins, both individually and on behalf of the estate of Chashawna Blevins; filed suit against Dynamic Environmental Services, Robbie Thompson and Chashawna Blevins.

The original lawsuit was filed on April 23 in the District Court of Dallas County but was transferred to the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division on Feb. 9.

The accident occurred around 4 a.m. on March 27, 2010, near Tyler as Chashawna Blevins, Burnett McKinney III and Tre'Vion McKinney were traveling westbound on Interstate 20.

Defendant Robbie Thompson, an employee of Dynamic Environmental Services, was driving a semi tractor-trailer pulling a box trailer. Thompson's truck collided into the rear of Blevins' vehicle and forced it into the concrete barrier. The vehicle then flipped sideways and came to rest underneath the semi tractor-trailer.

Blevins and Tre'Vion McKinney were pronounced dead at the scene. Burnett McKinney III was transported to the East Texas Medical Center where he died a few hours later from injuries he sustained in the crash.

According to court documents, the investigation of the accident determined that the primary cause of the incident was Thompson's failing to notice that Blevins' vehicle was stalled in the inside lane.

The defendants are accused of negligence for failing to keep lookout or apply brakes in a timely manner, for driving too fast, failing to avoid the collision, failing to stop, yield and grant the privilege of immediate use of the intersection in obedience to a stop sign, failing to control speed, failing to be properly attentive and failing to take proper evasive action.

The defendants are accused of negligently entrusting their vehicle to a reckless and incompetent driver, who was unlicensed in the United States.

The plaintiffs are seeking $10 million in damages for medical care and expenses, physical pain and suffering, physical impairment, loss of future earning capacity, loss of consortium, loss of parental consortium, loss of household services, disfigurement, mental anguish, interest and court costs.

The plaintiffs are also asking for $30 million in punitive damages.

The plaintiffs are represented by Kevin Kelley, Nuru Witherspoon and Erin Anderson of Kelley Witherspoon of Dallas.

A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Leonard Davis is assigned to the case.

Case No. 6:11-cv-00061

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