LUFKIN - The wife of a deceased Ohio man has filed a lawsuit claiming her husband suffered fatal injuries when a tractor-trailer pulled out from a private drive and attempted to cross Highway 59 directly in front of her husband’s vehicle.

Arnetta Spurgeon, individually, as representative of the Estate of William T. Spurgeon III, deceased, and as next friend of minor, filed suit against Harrison Transport Inc. and Miguel Velazquez Jr. on Feb. 8 in federal court in the Lufkin Division of the Eastern District of Texas.

The accident occurred on Oct. 18, 2012, on Highway 59 in Polk County.  According to the lawsuit, William T. Spurgeon was riding as a passenger in a tractor-trailer rig, being driven northbound when a tractor-trailer rig driven by defendant Velazquez pulled out from a private drive and attempted to cross the highway.

The tractor-trailer blocked all northbound lanes of travel directly in front of Spurgeon’s vehicle. The driver of Spurgeon’s vehicle braked and attempted to stop and avoid colliding with the Velazquez vehicle, but was unable to do so. As a result of the tractor-trailer accident, Spurgeon suffered serious injuries, which resulted in his death, the suit states.

Defendant Velazquez is accused of negligence for breaching his duty of care, for operating his vehicle in an unsafe and reckless manner in failing to maintain a proper lookout, failing to yield the right-of-way, failing to operate his vehicle at a safe speed and crossing a highway in an unsafe manner.

Defendant Harrison Transport is accused of negligence for entrusting the vehicle to Velazquez when it knew or should have known that he was an incompetent driver, for allowing an unsafe or unfit vehicle to be operated upon the public roadways in violation of local ordinances and for failing to properly train Velazquez.

The plaintiff is seeking an award of wrongful death damages, damages for mental anguish, emotional pain, torment, suffering, medical expenses, pain and suffering, interest and court costs.

Spurgeon is represented by James L. Mitchell of Payne Mitchell Law Group in Dallas and George E. Chandler and Kirk Mathis of Chandler, Mathis & Zivley PC in Lufkin.

A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Ron Clark is assigned to the case.

Case No. 9:13-cv-00036

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