Hamilton County Jury Awards $3.5 Million In Damages In Wreck Caused By Texting Driver

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Hamilton County jury has returned a verdict totaling $3.5 million in damages for a motorcycle driver who sustained a severe head injury in a rear end collision that attorneys said was caused by a driver who was texting.

The incident happend on April 14, 2010, on Highway 27 South near the Olgiati Bridge.

Witnesses testified that on the morning of the wreck traffic in the left hand lane where Marcus Black was traveling came to an abrupt stop when a person who was texting while driving suddenly cut from the right lane to the left lane of traffic. As cars came screeching to a stop, Mr. Black tried to stop his motorcycle, but ended up hitting the rear of the small sports car in front of him, launching him through the air and onto the pavement in the right hand lane. The texting driver drove off, apparently oblivious to the tragedy behind her, attorneys said.

A lawsuit was filed by Mr. Black against Jane Doe and Mr. Black’s uninsured motorist insurer. Patrick A. Cruise represented Mr. Black at trial, which began on Thursday and was concluded late Friday afternoon in Division III, Circuit Court, before Judge Marie Williams.

Mr. Black’s insurance company defended the texting driver at trial, contending she was not at fault.

The jury found the texting driver 75% at fault for the wreck, allocating 25% of the fault to Mr. Black. Under Tennessee comparative fault laws, the damages will be reduced to $2,625,000.

Attorney Cruise said the case was a horrific example of the dangers of texting and driving: “This verdict is important to Mr. Black and his family, and it’s a verdict that I hope will remind folks that this a public safety issue that we need to remedy.”


Police Blotter: Meat Thief Tries Again At Bi-Lo

Police said a man who had stolen meat before again headed for the meat counter at the Bi-Lo on Lee Highway. The white male tried to get out without paying, but a manager hollered for him to stop. The man yelled, "Catch me if you can." He got into a gray Ford Ranger driven by a white female. Police said the tag came back to a 2001 Ford Ranger owned by Chassity Cannon. ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Railroad Series: Blue Ridge Scenic Railroad

The tracks along the scenic Toccoa River that runs between CopperhHill/McCaysville and Blue Ridge were idle for two decades and in danger of being taken up. But a group of dedicated train enthusiasts and volunteers set about to bring the passenger train back to the mountains, and they have succeeded in a big way. The train, with two locomotives and 11 passenger cars, runs ... (click for more)

Thanks For Making The Southern Brewers Festival A Success

Now that the dust has settled I'd like to thank Chattanooga for supporting the Southern Brewers Festival and making it yet another very successful event.    For those who do not know - the SBF benefits the Chattanooga chapter of Kids on the Block and the Chattanooga Community Kitchen.  As a partner helping the SBF with volunteers, sponsorships and the overall production ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Al Sharpton’s Wise Remarks

I’ll admit I paid little more than scant attention to the Monday funeral of Michael Brown, the 18-year-old who was shot and killed by police bullets in Ferguson, Mo., after he allegedly was involved in strong-armed robbery. There are too many tawdry details and, in my way of thinking, there is nothing under God’s sun, absolutely nothing, that gives others the right to riot, burn ... (click for more)

Central Michigan Comes From Behind To Beat UTC 20-16

Central Michigan quarterback Cooper Rush passed for 173 yards and two scores to lead the host Chippewas to a come-from-behind 20-16 win against Chattanooga Thursday night in Mt. Pleasant, Mich. UTC (0-1) led 16-0 in the second quarter only to have CMU score 20 straight points for the win in the season opener for both teams. "Our defense played well and played hard, but ... (click for more)

Utah State, Tennessee Will Play Before Sellout Crowd

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Neyland Stadium will be sold out on Sunday night as the Vols host Utah State, a team they have great respect for. On Thursday, Tennessee's assistant coaches talked about the stiff challenge the Aggies present. With the countdown now down to three days, offensive coordinator  Mike Bajakian  feels his young offense is as prepared as it can be. "We've ... (click for more)