Man's Suicide Leaves Wreckage Behind
LONOKE, Ark. (CN) - Hours before a man killed himself by driving his ATV in front of a semi-truck, his wife of more than 17 years knew it was coming.
Growing concerned about her husband's threats, Colorado resident Kara Rachelle Young Suckla and her father-in-law called the Montezuma County Sheriff's Department in a last-ditch attempt to stop the impending suicide. Although they declined to provide their name or location to a sheriff's deputy, the family pleaded with authorities to intervene.
But it was too late.
"The call from the family member reported that the victim was drinking and making suicidal threats," Montezuma County Sheriff's Lt. Doug Parker said after the suicide.
Suckla drove his Polaris ATV into oncoming traffic on State Highway 491 in southwestern Colorado. He was pronounced dead at the scene when the ATV smashed into a semi on June 17, 2012. He was 44.
Parker told the Cortez Journal the truck driver was "uninjured but taken to the hospital to be treated for shock."
In a lawsuit Tuesday, the Arkansas-based transportation company that owns the truck claimed damages of $450,000 have devastated its business.
Bray Fast Freight sued Suckla's insurance company, Liberty Mutual, along with his wife and father, Jimmy Gene Suckla, and Kara Rachelle Young Suckla.
The trucking company claims that "both Rachelle Suckla and Jimmy Gene Suckla had intimate knowledge of Justin Suckla's intention to commit suicide. Both were witness to the act that led to the death of Justin Suckla and the property damage to the plaintiff, and both were in a position to prevent the accident from occurring."
At the scene of the accident, Suckla's father identified himself and Rachelle Suckla as the family members who had called the sheriff's office hours earlier. The first officer on scene was the deputy who took the call, according to the complaint.
A sheriff's incident report states that the suicidal man "intentionally drove his utility vehicle in front of plaintiff's truck for the purpose of committing suicide," according to the complaint in Lonoke County Court.
The transportation company hauls cargo, from fresh produce to general freight, throughout the country, and had been in business only three years before the incident occurred.
It claims in the lawsuit that the accident cost it $150,000 in lost revenue during the three months the truck spent in the repair shop.
"After the truck involved in the accident became operable, Bray Fast Freight spent several months catching up on backlogged shipments of goods, which further prevented it from taking on new customers. In short, the damages incurred due to the accident financially damaged plaintiff beyond the three month period of incapacitation of the vehicle involved in the accident," according to the complaint.
The company seeks compensatory damages for lost business expectancy for the six months following the June 2012 accident, totaling $450,000.
Liberty Mutual paid more than $28,000 in repair bills but did not include damages for the loss of Bray's use of the truck. The company claims that because Sekla's actions were intentional, they "should be considered intentional interference with business expectancy."
Suckla was a lifelong resident of Cortez, Colo., pop. 8,400, where he made a career out of buying and selling cattle. He left behind his wife, two sons and his mother and father, according to his obituary.
Bray Fast Freight is represented by Chris Lacy of Cabot, Ark.