Coal truck crash suit settled; Lawrence trial is cancelled


LOUISA—A January trial for alleged “serious bodily injuries” set in the Lawrence Circuit Court last week was cancelled because the parties reached a settlement agreement, according to John Kirk.

In a case against Allen R. Pruitt and Roger Wilks Trucking of Proctorville, Ohio, filed on June 24, 2009, Johnnie Vanover, a resident of Sitka, claimed damages from a “violent crash” that, he alleged, occurred on KY 32 in Lawrence County on February 5, 2009 when the vehicle he was operating was hit head-on by a loaded truck “operated recklessly” by Allen Pruitt and owned by Wilks Trucking.

The suit alleged that KRS 189.670 imposes a duty of large truck drivers to “exercise extraordinary care” toward the plaintiff and the traveling public. Pruitt, the suit alleged, “breached his duty to exercise extraordinary care toward the plaintiff and the traveling public” and that Pruitt’s conduct constitute “negligence per se” and resulted in “severe injury” to Johnnie Vanover.

The suit demanded compensation for past, present and future medical care, for past, present and future pain and suffering, for loss of income and for “all other relief the court deems just and proper.”

“Fortunately, there was no loss of life,” Kirk said. “In that sense, Mr. Vanover was very fortunate, even though he was injured badly and will have issues from the crash for the rest of his life.

“We are very grateful that this good man was able to have his case settled without the trauma of a trial,” Kirk added. Terms of settlement are confidential, Kirk said. “I am not at liberty to comment on that, but I can say that the right and just thing has been done.”