Missouri Company Agrees to $18 Million Payout in Fatal Accident

April 29, 2008

A trucking company has agreed to pay $18 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the families of three women killed in a June 2006 crash.

The parent company of Pro Logistics Inc. and two of its subsidiaries agreed to the payment Friday, April 25th, two days after a jury found the company liable for the women’s deaths and ordered them to pay $15 million. Jurors were deliberating whether and how much the company should pay in punitive damages when Pro Logistics agreed to the higher amount.

Killed in the crash were Beverly Garrett, 57, who led the federal government employees union in Kansas City; her mother, Beulah Hunter, 94; and Elois Jeans, 81, Garrett’s aunt. Also killed was Anita Gibbs, 55, Garrett’s niece and an elementary school principal in Kansas City.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol and witnesses said the truck, driven by George Albright Jr., was traveling eastbound on Interstate 70 about 30 miles east of Columbia when it failed to slow down as it approached congested traffic and slammed into a line of cars, scattering them about the highway. The tractor-trailer then broke through safety cables in the highway median and crossed into the westbound lanes, jackknifing on an embankment.

Authorities said it was a straight stretch of road with good visibility and that there were posted warning signs and a Department of Transportation flag man warning drivers of congestion ahead.

Albright, 61, of Clarksville, Tenn., was charged with four counts of second-degree involuntary manslaughter and is awaiting trial.

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