Yesterday a judge in Kane County approved a settlement in the wrongful death lawsuit stemming from a trucking accident brought by the family a former East Dubuque woman, Tabitha Carroll. Tabitha was killed, and her husband and son were injured, when a truck smashed into the back of their pick-up truck on October 31, 2008.
John J. Perconti, a trucking accident attorney at our firm of Levin & Perconti represented the family in the suit.
Ultimately, the settlement was reached during mediation between the parties and their attorneys. The Carroll family will receive $4.7 million for Tabitha’s wrongful death, $1.5 million for her husband Randy’s personal injuries, and $300,000 for their child Gabriel’s injuries.
Police officers had discovered that the negligent truck driver, Jeffrey Repec, was under the influence of marijuana at the time of the accident. When conducting the investigation, our attorneys discovered very troubling information about the events that led up to the deadly crash. The owners of the tractor-trailer, Geils Farms, failed to regularly screen their drivers for drugs as required by federal motor vehicle safety laws. In addition the owners did not perform driver background checks or look into employee driving records.
On top of that, the semi-truck used in the deadly crash was overloaded, weighing more than 80,000 pounds. The packed truck was clearly unsafe in that it’s left front turn signal did not function, five out of ten break were not properly adjusted, and the brake pads were infected with oil and grease inhibiting the safe stopping of the machine.
All of those factors together contributed to the deadly accident on Halloween day 2008. The Carroll family was stopped on Route 47 near I-90 on their way to Goebberts Pumpkin Path. The truck driver Repec was traveling behind them but failed to notice that they had stopped. His truck slammed into the back of the Carroll vehicle, forcing it to be crushed between it and an IDOT truck stopped in front of it.
Attorney John Perconti explained following the verdict, “The Carroll family has suffered needlessly at the hands of someone who should never have been allowed to operate a tractor trailer. Geils Farms’ failure to implement a screening program for their drivers was careless and demonstrated a reckless disregard for the safety of others.”
He continued, “They [the family] will live with this grief and sorrow for the rest of their lives. Although justice was done here, it’s not going to bring Tabitha back.”