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Attys Spar Over Fault For Pedestrian's Death as Trial Starts Against Driver and Chemical Co. Employer

Posted by Arlin Crisco on Nov 17, 2017 10:05:24 AM

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Lawrenceville, GA—Attorneys Wednesday debated who was at fault for an April 2014 collision that killed a pedestrian at a Tifton, Georgia crosswalk. Quynn v. Hulsey, et al., 15C-04812-S4.

“TriEst Ag Group Inc. has refused to accept full responsibility for the actions of its employee, [Riley] Hulsey,” The McArthur Law Firm’s Katherine McArthur told jurors Wednesday. “He, in rushing to meet a deadline for their company, was careless, and in fact, he actually stopped his vehicle for 5 seconds and then drove into a crosswalk without ever looking for pedestrians, in conscious disregard for the safety of anyone or anything who may have been in the crosswalk.”

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Brandon Lanier, 31, the pedestrian in the Tifton crosswalk, died from head injuries he suffered in the collision with Hulsey’s truck. Hulsey, who was working for soil fumigation chemical company TriEst Ag Group at the time of the crash, was making a right turn at the light when he hit Lanier.

During Wednesday’s opening statements, McArthur walked jurors through a police dashcam video that captured the collision. McArthur said the video and witness testimony would refute Hulsey’s claim that he looked right but wasn’t able to see Lanier before making his turn. “We know [Hulsey] never looked, and if he looked he never saw, because when you see the video, you’ll see that the pedestrian was standing there the whole time,” McArthur said.

McArthur told jurors witnesses, including the officer, would testify Lanier was attempting to safely cross the street when Hulsey hit him. The officer, she said, would testify “Mr. Lanier appeared to be paying attention to the vehicle, paying attention to the signal, and that as soon as the truck was stopped, proceeded in the cross walk. At that time Mr. Hulsey hit the gas, and, as you saw, ran him over.”

McArthur said Hulsey was rushing to find supplies needed for a time-sensitive TriEst shipment before the crash. And, while she said Hulsey denied being on his cell phone when he hit Lanier, records showed he had made several calls in the moments before the collision. “He was using his cell phone a lot during that time,” McArthur said. “It will be up to you to determine what role, if any, cell phone use [played] in this case.”

However, the defense contends Lanier waited too long before crossing. In his opening statement Wednesday, Gray, Rust, St. Amand, Moffett & Brieske’s Matthew Moffett noted Lanier did not begin to cross the intersection until the orange warning sign was flashing on the signal box.  

Moffett told jurors Lanier had five seconds of a walk signal that before the warning light began to flash.“The purpose of the five-second walk signal is to get all of us at least halfway out into the street, which is well beyond that first lane, well beyond where [Hulsey] had his truck,” Moffett said. “You start walking on walk, this never happens.”

Moffett contended Lanier would have seen a sign at the crosswalk telling pedestrians not to begin crossing when the warning sign was flashing. “Consistent with the law in Georgia: a pedestrian shall obey instructions of a traffic control device. That’s the law in the state of Georgia,” Moffett said. “You’ve got to follow the law.”

Moffett added video showed that Hulsey stopped at the intersection and activated his turn signal before turning at the same second Lanier stepped into the road. Evidence of reaction times, Moffett said, would show Hulsey decided to turn before Lanier stepped into the crosswalk. “We know [Hulsey] makes his decision to turn right when no one is in the intersection,” Moffett said. “And that’s why this is not a valid case.”

CVN is recording the trial, will provide updates on the news page, and video on demand as soon as possible after the verdict.

Email Arlin Crisco at acrisco@cvn.com.

Related Information

Nancy Quynn is represented by The McArthur Law Firm’s Katherine McArthur.

Riley Hulsey and Triest AG Group are represented by Gray, Rust, St. Amand, Moffett & Brieske’s Matthew Moffett and Jacquelyn Smith.

CVN is recording the trial and will provide video on demand as soon as possible after the verdict.

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Topics: Quynn v. Hulsey, Georgia, Transportation