Chesterton Tribune


Family seeks $10M from coughing trucker who blew red light in fatal crash

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The family of a Valparaiso woman killed earlier this month when her SUV was struck by a coughing trucker on U.S. Highway 30 is seeking $10 million from the trucker and his company.

On April 19, the family of Marla Fry filed a wrongful death complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, naming Old Dominion Freight Line Inc. of Thomasville, N.C., and Roberto Sanchez, of Charlotte, N.C., as defendants.

According to the Indiana State Police, at 12:44 p.m. April 10, Sanchez, 52, was westbound on U.S. 30 and approaching the intersection of C.R. 600W when, he advised, he had an uncontrollable coughing fit.

Sanchez “then realized the light for westbound U.S. 30 had turned red and was unable to stop” before hitting Fry, who was southbound on C.R. 600W in her SUV, police said.

The impact of the collision caused both Sanchez’s rig and Fry’s SUV to cross the grassy median and come to rest in the two left lanes of eastbound U.S. 30, police.

Fry was pronounced dead at the scene. She is survived by her husband, David, who filed the complaint against Old Dominion and Sanchez, and two minor daughters.

Sanchez was not injured, police said.

The complaint specifically alleges that Sanchez “carelessly, negligently, and improperly” operated his truck at a “high and dangerous rate of speed”; “failed to maintain control” of his truck; “failed to equip said vehicle with good and sufficient brakes”; “failed to keep a proper look out”; “operated his vehicle in a manner which was calculated and designed to cause losses and injuries to others lawfully” on the roadway; and “carelessly, negligently, and improperly entered said intersection with a steady color red signal.”

The complaint—in seeking $10 million plus costs—notes that Fry’s estate “was required to expend large sums of money for the payment of hospital and other medical expenses to treat her said injuries and the estate has incurred and become liable for funeral and other burial expenses and has sustained substantial pecuniary loss as result of (Fry’s) death.”

In addition, the complaint states, Fry’s survivors “have suffered substantial pecuniary loss including the loss of care, love and affection, and guidance.”



Posted 4/25/2012