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JURY AWARDS $866,000 TO MANASSAS MAN INJURED WHEN 18-WHEELER SLAMMED INTO STOPPED VEHICLE
FAIRFAX, Va., Sept. 9, 2003 _ A Fairfax County jury has awarded a Manassas man $866,000 for injuries he received when a 35-ton tractor-trailer rig hauling contaminated lead waste slammed into the stopped minivan in which he was a passenger.
The jury reached the verdict late Monday in favor of William James, 56, an auto mechanic and business owner, whose hip “was so badly broken that his orthopedic surgeon was not able to fit all of the pieces back together when it was first repaired," said James' attorney, Benjamin W. Glass, III, of Fairfax.
James, co-owner of Evergreen Auto Repair in Haymarket, Va., was a passenger in a minivan that was stopped to make a turn on James Madison Highway - Route 15 - in Haymarket when he was struck by the 18-wheeler. The truck was carrying contaminated lead waste for Envirite, Inc., a Canton, Ohio, corporation that specializes in the recycling of contaminated solids and debris.
James has undergone two major surgeries and faces the prospect of at least three additional surgeries over his lifetime, Glass said.
“This man lives in pain every day and it is only going to get worse for him in the future," Glass said. "Route 15 is one of the most dangerous highways in Virginia in terms of tractor-trailer traffic … something needs to be done about safety on that road."
The accident occurred in December 2000, when the tractor-trailer, driven by Harold Wood of Spring Grove, Pa., slammed into the rear of a construction van that had slowed to turn into a restaurant on Route 15. That collision pushed that vehicle several hundred yards down the road and sent the tractor-trailer over the dividing line of the highway and head-on into the minivan. One other person was injured in the accident.
Envirite denied that its driver was responsible for the accident despite Wood's testimony at trial that he had pleaded guilty to improper driving in traffic court and “accepted full responsibility” for the accident.
The jury deliberated about 30 minutes before delivering its verdict, which with prejudgment interest, totals $866,000.00. The one-day trial was heard before Circuit Court Judge Robert W. Wooldridge, Jr.