An Indiana jury awarded $2.1 million to a mother who was trapped in a wrecked vehicle while her adult daughter died next to her. Mattie Rhenwrick, an 85-year-old Gary, Ind. resident, was stopped at a traffic light in Columbia City, Indiana, with her daughter, Jacquelyn Gates, when a semitrailer smashed into their minivan. The driver of the truck had set his vehicle on cruise control and then slammed into the van at 60 mph.
Mrs. Rhenwrick was stuck in the wreckage with a fractured leg and watched her daughter die. The driver, who worked for Schneider National Inc., had a history of panicked stops and driving violations. Schneider should have realized the driver would inevitably cause a serious wreck, yet the company allowed him to drive company trucks. Trucking companies large and small have a duty to monitor their high-risk drivers and should never run the risk of putting a bad driver on the roadways. Neither should a bad driver – once hired – be kept as a driver. Kenneth Allen, an Indiana lawyer, represented Mrs. Rhenwrick and did a very good job.
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