The family of a London business woman killed last May in a car-truck crash on Interstate 70 filed suit in U.S. District Court in January against the trucker held responsible for the accident, as well as his freight company.
Jay Jones, 3921 Old Columbus Road, London, is seeking in excess of $75,000 in compensation and damages from Tony D. Smith of Chicago and Pennsylvania-based Greatwide American Trans-Freight for the rear-end crash that killed Robin Smith-Jones, 48. Beavercreek resident Diana Schwab, 71, also died in the crash.
Schwab’s family filed a similar suit in July. A judge combined the two lawsuits in January.
Attorney Emily Jackson-Fever, one of several representing Mr. Jones, said federal court is the proper venue for the lawsuits since Greatwide does business in multiple states and Smith is not an Ohio resident.
Documents filed by Jackson-Fever accuse Smith of negligence while driving Greatwide’s 2006 Freightliner tractor-trailer rig eastbound on the freeway. They assert Smith was speeding and texting on the morning of May 8 as he approached Smith-Jones’ vehicle at the rear of a line of stalled traffic near the Rome-Hilliard Road exit.
Other motorists said Smith appeared to be texting just prior to the crash. However, Assistant Franklin County Prosecutor Joe Church said records from a cell phone deputies confiscated from Smith did not back up that claim.
Smith is currently serving six months in the Franklin County Jail for two counts of vehicular manslaughter. He pleaded guilty in December to the misdemeanor charges.
In addition to allegations against Smith, the lawsuit also charges Greatwide with negligence in hiring Smith when he did not meet the physical and mental qualifications of a long-haul driver.
The company also failed to train Smith in commercial trucking regulations and procedures in violation of both state and federal laws.
Documents accuse Smith of failing to report the rig’s prior mechanical problems to the company and failing to take evasive action to avoid the collision.
Jane Beathard can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 16 or via Twitter @JaneBeathard.