Arkansas Family Sues Driver, Company Over Teen’s Death

January 31, 2012

The family of an Arkansas teenager who died after being hit by a tractor-trailer in Texas last year has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver of the truck and his employer.

The lawsuit filed Friday in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas alleged the driver of the tractor-trailer, Marc Simard, was talking on a cellphone shortly before the Aug. 19 accident along Interstate 30 near Hooks, Texas, that killed Tommie Roden, the Texarkana Gazette reported for a story in Sunday’s editions.

“Almost immediately prior to the impact, Marc Simard dropped his cellphone and reached down to retrieve his cellphone, diverting his eyes from the roadway and the objects and locations in front of him,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit alleges Simard’s use of a cellphone while driving violated Ontario,Canada-based Drive Logistics’ policies. Simard and Drive Logistics are defendants in the lawsuit.

According to earlier reports, Tommie , from Fouke, Ark., was riding in a 2002 Toyota Camry that was in an earlier accident with a 1995 Chevrolet pickup truck. Trooper Sylvia Jennings of the Texas Department of Public Safety has said Tommie may have been walking back to the Camry when she was killed.

Simard’s tractor-trailer also hit the pickup.

The portion of I-30 where the accident happened was under construction at the time of the wreck. The teenager was in the traffic lane between the Camry and a concrete barrier, reports show.

Simard and a 35-year-old passenger in his vehicle were taken to a Texarkana hospital with minor injuries, and several others were also treated for injuries.

Attorney Brantley White filed the lawsuit on behalf of Tommie’s mother, Sandra Suzanne Ward, and others under the Texas Wrongful Death and Survival Acts.

A Drive Logistics official didn’t immediately return a phone message left by The Associated Press on Sunday seeking comment. A message left at a phone listing for Simard also wasn’t immediately returned.

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