Truck driver, company involved in fatal I-75 accident sued for $10 million

Truck driver, company involved in fatal I-75 accident sued for $10 million

July 24th, 2015 by Evan Hoopfer in Local Regional News

A Bradley County attorney has filed the first lawsuit over the deadly Interstate 75 crash that killed six people near Ooltewah last month.

Ryan L. Humphries, who was injured but survived when a tractor trailer plowed into a group of stopped vehicles on June 25, sued truck driver Benjamin Scott Brewer and owner Cool Runnings Express Inc. for $10 million. Billy Ray Sizemore and Cretty C. Sizemore, who are believed to be the owners of Cool Runnings Express, also are named as defendants.

Both Cool Runnings Express and its attorneys refused to comment Thursday.

Humphries, of Cleveland, Tenn., is seeking for $5 million in actual damages and $5 million in punitive damages.

According to the suit, Brewer "operated his vehicle with negligent and reckless disregard for the safety of others." The suit also accuses Brewer of speeding, failure to keep vehicle under control and reckless driving along with other violations.

The suit also says Cool Runnings Express "failed to exercise reasonable and ordinary care in its decision to hire the Defendant, Benjamin Scott Brewer" as well as failure to supervise him.

Traffic is backed up at the scene of an accident on I-75.

Traffic is backed up at the scene of...

Photo by Doug Strickland /Times Free Press.

Cool Runnings Express also failed to properly maintain its vehicle in accordance with the U.S. Government and the state of Tennessee, the suit alleges.

"The foregoing actions and inactions of the defendant, Cool Runnings Express Inc., were a direct and proximate cause of the injuries sustained by the plaintiff," the suit states.

The suit alleges the crash caused Humphries "to incur medical expenses, past present and future, suffer loss of income, sustain damage to his earning capacity, experience severe and disabling injuries, sustain disfigurement of his body, endure extreme pain, suffering and emotional anguish and other losses and damages still to be determined for which he is entitled to be compensated under the laws of the State of Tennessee."

According to Chattanooga police, the crash happened around 7:10 p.m. on June 25 as cars were stopped near Exit 11 because of road construction. A witness said Brewer "plowed" into several cars, causing a nine-vehicle crash that killed six and injured several more.

Brewer was not injured and the crash is still being investigated by authorities.

Earlier this week, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ordered Brewer not to operate any commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce, calling him an imminent hazard to public safety.

Contact staff writer Evan Hoopfer at ehoopfer@timesfree press.com or twitter.com/EvanHoopfer or (423) 757-6731.