In the early morning hours of June 19, 2014, 21-year old Evan McCollum was on his way to work in his 2007 Nissan Titan truck. It was still dark at that time. Evan was driving east on Alabama Highway 14 in Autauga County, Ala. At the same time, Bruce Haven was operating a 2007 Volvo Tractor Trailer owned by Sayer Delivery Service, Inc. Haven was traveling south on Avant Street when he approached the intersection with Alabama Highway 14. Despite Evan’s approaching vehicle in plain sight, Haven, the truck driver, turned left onto Alabama Highway 14, directly in the path of Evan’s vehicle. Unable to avoid the collision, Evan’s vehicle struck the Sayer trailer on the right hand side. Evan was severely injured in the crash and will be permanently disabled for the remainder of his life.
Evan was completely free from fault. There was no evidence that he was speeding, inattentive, fatigued, intoxicated or using his cell phone at the time of the collision. Evan did absolutely nothing wrong. There was no evidence that he swerved or left the roadway during his approach to the intersection where the impact occurred. The officer who investigated the accident testified that there was no visual obstruction to the truck driver’s line of sight. His investigation revealed that the driver failed to yield the proper right-of-way to Evan. The truck driver admitted that he failed to see Evan’s truck before he pulled his tractor-trailer into the intersection.
Negligence and wantonness claims were made against Sayer Delivery Service, Inc. and the truck driver. Negligent hiring, training and supervision claims were also brought against Sayer. The suit was filed in the Circuit Court of Autauga County, Ala.
There was eyewitness testimony that the truck driver “lingered at the intersection for as long as 30 seconds” prior to pulling out. His trailer was partially still on Avant Street when the crash occurred. We learned in our investigation that all Sayer drivers knew that this intersection had signage around it that created a known “blind spot.” They knew that as a result, a driver turning onto Highway 14 would not be able to see oncoming vehicles. There had been previous accidents and near-accidents at this intersection.
A number of depositions were taken in the case by both sides, including those of experts in the areas of accident reconstruction, trucking industry standards, fatigue management, cellular telephone forensics, human factors, vocational, rehabilitation and economic factors. In addition, several hundred pages of internal documents, produced by Sayer, were reviewed by our lawyers. One week prior to trial, the parties reached a settlement for a confidential amount. Chris Glover, who handled the case for our firm, says he was pleased that he could successfully represent Evan McCollum in his case.
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