HUNTINGTON -- An Ohio woman is suing the person representative of the estate of the man she claims caused the the wrongful deaths of three of her family members.
Penny Rodgers is the personal representative of the estate of Christopher W. Rodgers.
On April 7, 2010, Christopher Grizzell was operating a 1996 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, Christopher Rodgers was operating a 2004 Chevrolet Malibu and Wayne Richard Lawrence Jr. was operating a 2009 Freightliner Columbia truck tractor, according to a complaint filed March 6 in Cabell Circuit Court.
Ginger Elaine Lawrence and Kelsie Emily Lawrence were passengers in the freightliner with Wayne Richard Lawrence Jr.
Wanda Frances Lawrence, personal representative of the Estates of Ginger Lawrence, Kelsie Lawrence and Wayne Lawrence, claims when Grizzell attempted to switch lanes, Christopher Rodgers' vehicle collided into his, causing both vehicles to travel across the westbound lanes of Interstate-64, through the median and cable barrier and into the path of the Lawrences' vehicle.
Grizzell and Christopher Rodgers' vehicles collided with the Lawrences' vehicle, impacting at or near the fuel tank, according to the suit.
Wanda Lawrence claims as a result of the impact, the fuel tank was breached and diesel fuel escaped, causing an explosion that engulfed the truck's cab in flames.
After impact with Grizzell and Christopher Rodgers' vehicles, the freightliner truck continued to travel east on Interstate-64, with the cab of the truck engulfed in flames, and eventually struck the guardrail and came to rest in the emergency lane against the guardrail, according to the suit.
Wanda Lawrence claims Christopher Rodgers died at the scene and that later, Wayne Lawrence, Ginger Lawrence, Kelsie Lawrence's bodies were found, showing they died at the scene from severe burns and smoke inhalation.
Christopher Rodgers failed to make proper observations and maintain an adequate lookout upon the highway, according to the suit.
Wanda Lawrence claims Christopher Rodgers was also operating his vehicle at an excessive rate of speed under the circumstances and failed to yield the right of way to other vehicles.
The defendant was also negligent in failing to take steps to avoid striking the motor vehicle operated by Grizzell; failing to maintain a safe distance between his vehicle and the Grizzell vehicle; in attempting to pass Grizzell in the right-hand lane; and in failing to conform with appropriate local, state and federal motor vehicle statues, according to the suit.
Wanda Lawrence is seeking compensatory and punitive damages with interest. She is being represented by Michael T. Collis and Ryan J. Duty.
The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge David M. Pancake.
Cabell Circuit Court case number: 12-C-143