Family files lawsuit against Grover Beach man, trucking company

January 15, 2013

gavelThe family involved in a crash with a tractor-trailer truck that left their vehicle dangling off of a Highway 101 bridge last year has filed a lawsuit against the trucking company and the estate of the Grover Beach driver. [Noozhawk]

On Jan. 12, 2012, Charles Allison, 48, of Grover Beach rear ended the sedan driven by Kelli Groves, 36, of San Juan Capistrano. The mother and her daughters, Sage, 10, and Milo, 10-months-old, were traveling south on Highway 101 near Buellton.

Allison was killed after his tractor-trailer plunged off the road into a creek 100 feet below, where it burst into flames. Investigators later determined that Allison was under the influence of methamphetamine at the time of his death.

First responders worked to free Groves and her children from the car, and she and her older daughter spent eight days at Cottage Hospital before being released.

The lawsuit asks for damages for personal injuries and negligent infliction of emotional distress. Arroyo Grande-based R & R Auto Wrecking Inc. as well as the estate of Charles Allison are listed as defendants on the case.

Michael Penn, Grove’s attorney, spoke with Noozhawk on Monday about the case.

“It’s unfortunate that [the lawsuit] has to go forward,” Michael Penn, Grove’s attorney told Noozhawk, but called it “inexcusable” that the trucking company would hire a person with a record like Allison’s. “The driver had a local criminal record of substance abuse going back two decades. It’s a very long rap sheet.

“For a trucking company to jeopardize public safety like that is inexcusable.”


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Cindy, the trucking company has minimal liability insurance to begin with. Concurrently, the insurance company is seeking to be released from any claim as employee “X” was in fact under the influence- violative of the terms and conditions of the policy purchased by the trucking company. The family has little recourse to claim all parties to make themselves whole. Had you spent hours dangling over the side of a fwy bridge, thinking you and your two children might die, you would know the insurance company’s lowball”per occurrence” dollar limits would not be enough for all the suffering incurred.

In the matter of the driver’s license being the magic remedy for the trucking company to escape any culpability, please understand they failed to insure the drive was clean, and free of drugs. His history alone would dictate a need for random screening to assure the ownership that they were taking no undue risks. Until you have suffered pain, loss of income, and unknown years of reliving a tragic incident, please refrain from playing the “crooked, greedy lawyer” card. Someday, you just might be looking for such help in your time of need. Let’s hope you will be able to find it…

There are a lot of rules to driving a commerical rig, a commerical license is one, a valid medical card, every two years is another, thats just on the driver, the company has to make sure both these are valid, plus has to have its employees do a drug screen randomly when their number is rotated into the system, plus the state is to come by the equipment yard every two years to inspect equipment and employee records, there are many safe guards in place so that accidents like this do not happen, yet they do, this company knowingly hired this drug addict and managed to get around the parameters set by the DMV and CHP and here we have the result.

““It’s unfortunate that [the lawsuit] has to go forward,” “The driver had a local criminal record of substance abuse going back two decades.”

Since the attorney claims the lawsuit has to go forward, am I to assume that the trucking company has no insurance and that they are refusing to pay the bills themselves? Personally I find that highly doubtful. It sounds like this attorney is a typical snake looking for any pocket that he can stick his hand in and any excuse to do it. By the way, did the driver have a valid license? I suspect he did so good luck on blaming the company for allowing him to drive.