State Court of Cobb County Darlene I. Woodard, Individually, and as the Surviving Spouse of Charles D. Woodard, Sr., Deceased; and Christina W. MacIntyre, as the Administrator of the Estate of Charles D. Woodard, Sr., v. Travis S. McLendon; Jones Trucking, Inc., and Canal Insurance Company
On Sept. 8, 2004, on a rainy morning around 1:00 a.m., Defendant truck driver was traveling on I-285, heading toward the S. Cobb Rd. exit in Smyrna, Georgia when he lost control of his rig and jack-knifed against the median wall with the trailer extending into the first two lanes of I-285. The tractor trailer lost all its electrical systems on impact and no lights were on the vehicle. Approximately 2 minutes later, Plaintiff Charles Woodard, 56, collided with the trailer that was in his lane of traffic and died on impact.
Woodard’s widow and daughter sued the owner of the jack-knifed tractor trailer, Jones Trucking Inc., Bainbridge, Ga., and its driver, Travis McLendon for his wrongful death. The plaintiffs claimed that the Jones Truck had defective brakes and that McClendon was driving too fast for the rainy conditions. The plaintiffs also claimed that the rear of the jack-knifed tractor trailer, and specifically the ICC bar, (a bar attached to the rear fender that keeps cars or trucks from going underneath a truck during an accident) didn’t comply with federal regulations.
The defense claimed that Woodard was comparatively liable. Woodard’s truck was equipped with a black box that showed he was going 74 mph in a 55 mph zone. The defense also claimed that Woodard could have avoided the collision. The case was compromised by the fact that Mr. Woodard was speeding.
The Case settled before trial in the amount of seven hundred fifty thousand dollars ($750,000.00).