Kirk firm seeks $10 million or traffic deaths on U.S. 23

PAINTSVILLE – A civil action seeking $10 million has been filed in the Johnson Circuit Court on behalf of the children of Joe Rigsby who died from injuries sustained in a February 2007 accident on U.S. 23 in Johnson County. Rigsby, of Blaine, left sons, Aaron, age 12 and Seth, age 14. The action was filed by Kirk Law Firm on behalf of Roselee Rigsby, Joe Rigsby’s mother and the Executor of his estate.

The tractor-trailer was owned by Akers Magnetite of Huntington and was loaded with magnetite at the time of the crash. The driver, George Hamilton of Huntington, was cited following the crash by Kentucky Vehicle Enforcement for having a log book that “did not have the previous seven days of driver’s record or duty status.” The driver was not injured.

“Because Defendant Hamilton’s tractor-trailer was ‘loaded,’ because he was traveling excessively fast and because he was traveling down hill, he was operating his vehicle in a reckless, dangerous, wanton and willful fashion without proper concern for others upon the road way,” John Kirk said in the complaint filed earlier this week.

The truck, the complaint alleges, was “traveling approximately 85 miles an hour” when the brakes were applied in an attempt to stop. The complaint further alleges that immediately prior to the crash, Defendant Hamilton, “deprived of necessary rest and sleep, did not perceive the ‘other’ vehicle as quickly as he otherwise would and, once he perceived the other vehicle, because he was sleep deprived, his reaction time was not as rapid as otherwise.”

“This was a horrible, preventable crash which took two innocent lives and injured another person,” Kirk said. “According to our crash expert, the truck with 60,000 pounds of iron was traveling down a hill on 23 near Dog Wood Lane at 85 miles an hour. I have confidence in this expert, who has reconstructed other accidents for me and knows what he is doing. He figures the speed by the load weight, the skid marks and sometimes by the black box. If he is correct here, then this big truck was literally out of control.”

The lawsuit seeks $10 million for “punitive damages” on the alleged grounds that “Defendants’ actions were willful and wanton and done with disregard for the rights and welfare of others and because Defendants’ said willful actions were the proximate cause of the death crash.”

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