Settlement announced in case over fatal Thanksgiving Day I-10 pileup

By David Yates | Dec 26, 2013

After a week of testimony, on Monday, Dec. 23, a settlement was announced in a case filed over a massive pileup Interstate 10 on Thanksgiving Day 2012, which lead to two deaths, dozens of injuries and several lawsuits.

Pre-trial of the complex litigation began Monday, Dec. 9, in Judge Floyd’s 172nd District Court, and two of Southeast Texas’ biggest names in litigation were in the courtroom representing the plaintiffs — Joe Jamail of Houston and Walter Umphrey of the Beaumont law firm Provost Umphrey.

As previously reported, Vincent Leggio Jr., representing the Estate of Debra and Vincent Leggio Sr., filed suit against C.R. England, Richard Kerr, Tamika Francois and Cathryn Stegmoyer on Nov. 29, 2012, in Jefferson County District Court.

According to that lawsuit, on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 22, 2012, the Leggios encountered several stopped vehicles blocking their lane of traffic on I-10 when Kerr, who was driving a tractor-trailer owned by C.R. England, failed to control his speed and struck their vehicle. Debra Leggio, 60, and Vincent Leggio, 64, were killed in the crash.

As of Dec. 24, no record of the settlement with C.R. England is on file.

However, according to the Beaumont Enterprise, PU attorney Chip Ferguson said the settlement was “record-setting.”

“The settlement sets a new bar for these types of cases,” he said. “It is the result of an entire year of investigation into the accident and driver.  We are very proud of this outcome.”

Defendant C.R. England is accused of negligent entrustment, hiring, retention and training, and for the failure to properly and safely inspect, repair and/or maintain its vehicle.

Early morning fog may have led to the pileup, which eventually included more than 100 cars, according to local media reports. The Department of Public Safety and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office reported that 80 to 90 people were hurt, with 10 to 12 critically or seriously injured in addition to the two fatalities. It took more than eight hours to clear the interstate.

Leggio is represented by Walter Umphrey of Provost & Umphrey Law Firm in Beaumont and Joseph D. Jamail of Jamail & Kolius in Houston.

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