The family of a 72-year-old man killed by a stray wheel on a rural Missouri highway reached a $16 million settlement for his death, according to their attorneys.
Mark Emison, Kent Emison and Alex Thrasher of Langdon & Emison said the wrongful death settlement was finalized in Clinton County on the eve of trial against a trucking company and a tire service company.
The suit alleged that as the man drove down the highway in 2020, a wheel separated from an oncoming tractor-trailer, bounced across the median, went through the victim’s windshield and hit his upper body. The attorneys said the industry describes such a loose wheel as an “unguided 200-pound missile.” The victim died hours after the accident.
The attorneys claimed the trucking company had inadequate training and a history of maintenance and equipment violations that had brought a warning from federal regulators. They also alleged that the company had failed to identify signs of loose lug nuts prior to the wheel separation, such as streaks from the lug nuts that appeared on the wheel hub after installation.
Plaintiffs’ counsel also alleged the tire service company had failed to install the wheel properly just weeks before the incident and that the company had a history of wheel-off events after servicing commercial vehicles.
The settlement comprised $10 million from the trucking company and $6 million from the confidential tire service company.
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$16 million settlement
Motor vehicle collision, wrongful death
Breakdown: $10,000,000 from trucking company, $6,000,000 from tire service company.
Venue: Clinton County Circuit Court
Case Number/Date: Confidential
Plaintiffs’ Attorneys: Mark Emison, Kent Emison and Alex Thrasher, Langdon & Emison, Lexington
Defendants’ Attorney: Confidential