Man says Ryder equipment was wrong

By Cara Bailey | May 30, 2008

CHARLESTON - A Kanawha County man has filed a suit against a truck rental company after he was injured when the steering in the truck he was driving failed.

Willard Brown filed the suit May 5 in Kanawha Circuit Court against Ryder Truck Rental Inc.

According to the suit, Brown worked for Peerless Block and Brick Co. as a driver. Peerless leased Freightliner tractors from Ryder to transport bricks, cement and blocks, the suit says.

According to the suit, Brown was using a tractor from Ryder to haul bricks, blocks and cement May 31, 2007. While traveling south on W.Va. 119, the engine and power steering failed, the suit says.

Brown was able to coast the truck to a complete stop, restart the engine and call Peerless, which directed him to return the truck to the Ryder franchise in Dunbar.

Brown took the truck back and explained the problems he was having, the suit says. He was told the repairs would be made, and was given a second tractor to use until the repairs to the first were made.

According to the suit, Brown experienced mechanical problems with the second truck and was forced to return it to the franchise. The suit says the head mechanic from Ryder told Brown the first truck was repaired and safe to operate, so he drove it back to Peerless.

However, on June 6, 2007, the engine on the first truck failed again. Brown was instructed to return the truck to the franchise.

"As (Brown) continued traveling on WV Route 94, Ryder 1's engine and power steering failed inside a curve near Hernshaw, W.Va., and (Brown) suffered severe and permanent injuries," the suit says.

Brown claims the truck was not repaired properly, and that Ryder is responsible for the negligent work.

In a four-count suit, Brown and with his wife Jessica seek compensatory and punitive damages.

Attorney Dan R. Snuffer is representing the Browns. The case has been assigned to Judge Duke Bloom.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 08-C-870

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