Wrongful death suit says wreck caused by truck driver on cell phone

By Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau | Feb 6, 2012


TEXARKANA - A truck driver accused of talking on his cell phone just prior to a fatal collision is being sued by the family of a deceased Bowie County woman.

Sandra Suzanne Ward, individually, and Rachel Ramirez, individually and as representative of the Estate of T.A.R., filed the wrongful death lawsuit against Drive Logistics Ltd. and Mark N. Simard on Jan. 27 in the Eastern District of Texas, Texarkana Division.

The incident occurred on Aug. 19 when decedent T.A.R. was standing outside her vehicle on Interstate Highway 30 in Bowie County. She was attempting to assist the occupant of another motor vehicle who was involved in an accident.

According to the allegations, tractor-trailer driver Marc Simard was talking on his cell phone when he dropped it and reached down to retrieve it, taking his eyes off the road.

His tractor-trailer violently collided with T.A.R., striking her and causing fatal injuries.

Simard's employer, Drive Logistics, is liable for his actions under the doctrine of Respondeat Superior, the lawsuit argues.

The defendant is accused of negligence for failing to operate his vehicle in a reasonably prudent fashion by diverting his eyes off the road, traveling at an excessive rate of speed, reaching down to grab his cell phone after he dropped it on the floor, failing to observe the objects and locations in front of him because of his diverted gaze, and communicating with his cell phone in violation of Drive Logistics' policies and procedures.

The lawsuit is seeking an award of wrongful death damages including pecuniary loss, loss of consortium, mental anguish, loss of inheritance, loss of community estate and addition to estate and survival damages for pain and mental anguish, medical expenses, funeral and burial expenses, interest, attorney's fees and court

The plaintiffs are represented by Brantley W. White and Craig M. Sico of Sico, White, Hoelscher & Braugh LLP in Corpus Christi.

A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge David Folsom is assigned to the case.

Case No. 5:12-cv-00009

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