Editor's Note: This is a breaking story and will be updated.
Jonesboro, GA— Jurors Wednesday handed down an $8 million verdict against a trucking firm after finding one of its drivers responsible for the 2015 crash that injured a Georgia motorcyclist. Stevens v. J.R.K. Trucking, et al., 2018-CV-01518.
Jurors deliberated about two hours before finding J.R.K. Trucking’s Donald Parks caused the I-75 crash that injured Ronnie Stevens. Stevens contends he crashed his motorcycle when a dump truck driven by Parks struck an orange construction barrel, sending it into Stevens’s path.
Stevens, who injured his ankle and wrist in the crash, incurred more than $171,000 in medical expenses. His attorney, Fried Rogers Goldberg’s Eric Rogers, requested more than $10.1 million during Wednesday’s closings, noting the lingering impact of the injuries.
The crash occurred near a construction site’s loading area, and the three-day trial turned in large part on whether Parks hit the barrel that Stevens says caused the crash. During Wednesday’s closings, Waldon Adelman Castilla Hiestand & Prout’s Trevor Hiestand, representing J.R.K. and Parks, walked jurors through testimony and a timeline he says proved Parks was waiting for his truck to be loaded when the crash occurred farther up the highway. “He had come to a stop and five minutes went by before traffic started to stop [because of the crash],” Hiestand said. “He could not have even been in the roadway, moving across barrel lines when this incident occurred. It is impossible.”
But Rogers noted witness testimony describing a dump truck like the one Parks was driving striking the barrel. He argued J.R.K. vehicles were the only two dump trucks in that area during the time of the accident, with Parks’s truck the last in line of that loading formation.
And Rogers challenged Parks’s testimony concerning his entry to the loading site on the day of the accident. One day, Rogers said, in several months of Parks’s work on a project where the loading zone changed frequently. “For some reason, out of one out of 300 days, he can remember which orange barrel he went between [on the day of the crash]. That’s what he’s telling you,” Rogers said. “It doesn’t make sense.”
After the verdict, Stevens’s attorney, Fried Rogers Goldberg’s Michael Goldberg, told CVN “When you have a great client like Ronnie Stevens, you can guarantee that the verdict is going to be several million dollars for a permanent injury, regardless of the amount of medical bills.”
CVN has reached out to attorneys in the case and will update this article with their comments.
Email Arlin Crisco at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stevens is represented by Fried Rogers Goldberg’s Michael Goldberg and Eric Rogers.
J.R.K. and Parks are represented by Waldon Adelman Castilla Hiestand & Prout’s Trevor Hiestand and Steven Wilson.