$10M lawsuit filed against driver, owner of SUV in deadly Ashmore Avenue crash
The family of a young woman who died in a crash last month is suing the driver and his father for $10-million.
Twenty-three-year-old Haven West was killed in the crash that happened on Ashmore Avenue on July 23. The driver 25-year-old William Cheek was charged with vehicular homicide and DUI.
“The family can't punish this individual. The only opportunity they have is a monetary reward and that's my job to help get them a fair [and] reasonable monetary award,” Attorney Herbert Thornbury said.
The lawsuit shows the family is seeking emotional suffering, medical and funeral costs.
“That's what a jury has to look at is as the parents get older that love, that affection, that guidance, that care that a child can give a parent becomes tremendous. You can't put a monetary figure on that,” he explained.
Thornbury who is representing West’s family says this is a case of pure negligence. He says his team does not believe Cheek was intoxicated like police reported.
“What I have learned from talking to everyone I'm not sure that he was that impaired as a driver that evening. I think he just ran off the road,” Thornbury said.
According to court documents, Cheek told police he had four beers before he got behind the wheel and eventually lost control after a night out with friends. Two of them were with him when it happened, including West.
Pointing to a printed out google map image, Thornbury went over the route the trio took.
“If you look at the curves, here's a guy that went through lots of curves, very dark at night; more than 90-degree curves,” he says. “Four of them, if not five of them [are] 180 degree turns; twice really.”
He goes on to question why cheek lost control on the very last curve where the crash happened after maneuvering several curves prior.
“It's a fairly narrow road and it doesn't have a wide shoulder and I could see why it would happen. He just made a bad choice when he overcorrected.”
The SUV Cheek was driving flipped over and crashed into a utility pole. Reports say West was ejected through the back window.
Thornbury says both Cheek and his father have received the lawsuit and have 30 days to respond to it.
He is anticipating hearing from an insurance lawyer requesting more time. However, he says a final resolution may not come soon since the criminal case against Cheek has not been resolved. Cheek faces a judge on August 26.