Jefferson County sued over fatal collision involving county vehicle

By Kelly Holleran | Apr 9, 2009

A woman and the parents of a recently deceased 25-year-old man are suing Jefferson County and one of its employees over a collision that caused the man's death.

Scarlet Snider, administrator of the estate of Nicholas Bryan Burton, and Brian and Sheila Burton filed suit April 7 in Jefferson County District Court.

They say Nicholas Bryan Burton was involved in an accident in the 6200 block of State Highway 105 in Beaumont.

According to the complaint, Burton was crossing the highway on foot when he was violently struck by a Jefferson County-owned vehicle that was driven by Jonta Miller, who was working for the county at the time of the accident.

Burton died the same day.

Brian and Sheila Burton are seeking damages for the loss of their son's affection, companionship, comfort and solace, the loss of the parent-child relationship and the loss of care, maintenance, support, services, advice, counsel and contributions.

Sheila Snider says she incurred medical costs and funeral and burial costs because of Nicholas Bryan Burton's death.

The plaintiffs allege that Miller:

  • Failed to keep a proper lookout;
  • Drove a vehicle at a time when it was not safe;
  • Failed to apply his brakes to avoid a collision;
  • Failed to turn his vehicle to the right to avoid a collision;
  • Failed to maintain control of the vehicle;
  • Failed to drive within a single lane;
  • Moved from his lane when it was not safe to do so;
  • Drove too fast for the conditions;
  • Failed to avoid colliding with a pedestrian; and
  • Drove with a disregard for the safety of people.

    Because Miller was an employee of Jefferson County at the time of the incident, the county is liable for damages, the complaint states.

    The Burtons and Snider are seeking an unspecified judgment within the jurisdictional limits of the court, plus pre- and post-judgment interest, costs and other relief to which they may be entitled.

    B. Adam Terrell of Weller, Green, Toups and Terrell in Beaumont will be representing them.

    The case has been assigned to Judge Gary Sanderson, 60th District Court.

    Jefferson County District Court case number: B183-739.

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