Insurer files lawsuit after defective front end bounced off road, killed passenger

Kelly Holleran Aug. 21, 2014, 5:41pm

An insurance company seeks damages from the business it claims placed a defective front end replacement on a vehicle, which eventually fell off the automobile and struck a person, killing her.

Starr Indemnity and Liability Co. filed a lawsuit July 29 in the Jefferson County District Court against The Claude Perry Co., doing business as The Perry Co.

In its complaint, the insurance company alleges the Perry Co. installed a front end replacement on a 2009 Dodge Ram 3500 Laramie pickup truck. On July 30, 2012, Derek McBride was driving the truck when he struck the center median in the 800 block of Interstate Highway 10 in Beaumont, according to the complaint.

According to the suit, the force of the impact caused the bolts on the front passenger side that attached the front end replacement to the Dodge pickup to shear and, then, caused the bracket on the front driver side of the truck to tear due to weight of the front end replacement. Ultimately, the front end replacement separated from the Dodge pickup, the suit states.

After the front end replacement separated from the truck, it tumbled into oncoming traffic, struck two vehicles and then catapulted into the windshield of the vehicle being driven by Ryan Roussel. Amber Roussel, Ryan Roussel’s wife and the front seat passenger in his vehicle, was killed by the impact of the front end replacement, the suit states.

Starr, which insured the Roussels at the time of the collision, says the family lost Amber Roussel’s companionship and incurred medical, hospital and funeral charges due to the collision.

It blames The Perry Co. for causing the collision, saying it was liable for its product. The defendant also negligently failed to adequately develop and construct the front end replacement, failed to properly inspect and test the design of its product, failed to conduct research on the potential hazards associated with the product and failed to warn consumers of the risk of the product separating from the vehicle, according to the plaintiff.

Starr Indemnity seeks a judgment in excess of the minimum jurisdictional limits of the court, plus pre-judgment interest at the highest rate allowed by law and other relief the court deems just.

It is being represented by attorney Stephen Halbeisen of Cozen O’Connor in Dallas.

According to news reports relating to Amber Roussel's death, Derek Wesley McBride, 25, was indicted by a grand jury in November 2012 and pleaded guilty to killing in the collision. On March 18, 2013, McBride received eight years in state jail for intoxication assault and intoxication manslaughter.

According to an article in The Examiner, the fatal crash occurred on the Neches River Bridge after McBride allegedly passed another vehicle illegally on the eastbound, right-hand shoulder. According to witnesses on the scene, McBride’s white pickup truck was clipped by an unknown vehicle as he attempted to pass it.

"Witnesses said McBride’s truck crossed all three lanes of traffic, striking the barrier wall and eventually sending his truck’s brush guard careening into oncoming traffic, where it met the Roussel vehicle," the article stated.

Jefferson County District Court case number B195-921

This is a report on a civil lawsuit filed at the Jefferson County District Court. The details in this report come from an original complaint filed by a plaintiff. Please note that a complaint represents an accusation by a private individual, not the government. It is not an indication of guilt, and it represents only one side of the story.

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