Wrongful Death Suit Filed Over Death of 72-Year-Old Woman

Family members who were passengers in the car of a 72-year-old woman who died February 1stin an accident involving a dump truck have filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Davidson County Superior Court of North Carolina against the driver and the trucking company.

Jamie L. Miller, the daughter of the deceased women, Thelma Rickard; her husband Gary E. Miller; and a court-appointed administrator of the estate of Rickard, are listed as plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed September 5th. Their complaint lists Dennis J. Theiss and Daughtery Trucking LLC as the defendants.

The woman lost control of her car after the driver of the dump truck, who was operating the truck with an expired driver’s license, pulled out in front of her.

Theiss, 52 years old, of Hendersonville, was charged after the traffic fatality with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle, driving while his license was revoked and displaying a driver’s license, which he knew was suspended. The case for Theiss, who was the driver of the dump truck for Daughtery Trucking, remains pending, and his next court date is scheduled for November 15th.

Thelma Rickard, Jamie Miller and Gary E. Miller were injured in the collision. Thelma Rickard sustained injuries that prevented her from exiting the car. She ultimately died in the 1990 Buick, approximately 45 minutes after the collision, while still in the driver’s seat on the scene.  Her daughter, Jamie L. Miller, suffered several injuries, including a broken femur, which also prevented her from escaping from the vehicle without assistance. She was forced to remain in the front seat of the 1990 Buick, unable to move, watching her mother die next to her in the driver’s seat.  Jamie’s husband, Gary E. Miller, also suffered personal injuries as a direct result of this collision and also witnessed his wife’s injuries and his mother-in-law’s death. The two survivors were extracted from the car by paramedics and then taken to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Trooper Austin Beck wrote in his citation, that Theiss caused the death of Rickard for failing to yield to the right of way. “This violation was the proximate cause of death.”

The lawsuit mentions that Theiss had a history of illegal drug use, was arrested and/or convicted “on the same” on multiple occasions.  “Upon information and belief…Theiss had a history of using illegal drugs including, but not limited to, methamphetamine,” the lawsuit states.” … Theiss has previously been arrested for possession of methamphetamine.”

According to the lawsuit, Theiss gave a blood sample that showed the presence of impairing substances, including methamphetamine. The toxicology report generated by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation indicated Theiss was “crashing” after recent use of methamphetamine.

“Theiss consciously decided to subject others to injury or death by operating a commercial dump truck while he was impaired on February 1, 2013,” the lawsuit states.

The family is suing for expenses for the decedent’s medical care, compensation for pain and suffering before Rickard died, reimbursement for the woman’s funeral and the woman’s net income.  They are also seeking expenses for previous and future medical care, future pain and suffering, permanent disfigurement for Jamie Miller and loss of enjoyment of life.  The attorneys for the family are demanding a trial and say the plaintiffs have each suffered damages in excess of $10,000.

For more information, contact one of our Gacovino Lake attorneys at 1-800-246-HURT (4878).

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