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State Trooper’s Widow Blames DOT Trucking

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (CN) - The widow of an Illinois State Trooper sued DOT Transportation and its truck driver, claiming the "medically unfit" driver's out-of-control truck killed her husband during a traffic stop.

Sarah Deatherage sued DOT Foods, DOT Transportation, and Johnny B. Felton, in Madison County Court.

Her husband, Kyle Deatherage, 32, was killed instantly when he was hit by the truck Felton was driving on Interstate 55 near Litchfield on Nov. 26, 2012.

The widow claims that Felton was "medically unfit" to drive, and that DOT let him drive even though he was an "imminent danger to the public."

The U.S. Department of Transportation found that Felton, 51, of Hinesville, Ga., lost consciousness before the crash, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The agency issued an order declaring Felton an imminent hazard, barred him from commercial driving and found that he had an unspecified medical condition that made him ineligible for a commercial license, the newspaper reported.

DOT told the Post-Dispatch that they removed Felton, who was uninjured, from the road after the crash.

"It is also DTI's policy that no driver will drive for DTI unless he or she is in full compliance with the Federal Motor Safety Act and has a valid medical card issued by the Department of Transportation-certified physician," DOT told the newspaper in a statement. "The driver involved in this accident has a valid medical card."

Sarah Deatherage claims that Felton "willfully and wantonly operated his truck when he knew he was medically unfit to do so," and that DOT "willfully and wantonly hired, entrusted, and allowed" Felton to drive it.

She seeks more than $75,000 for wrongful death and willful and wanton misconduct. She is represented by Thomas Q. Keefe of Keefe & Keefe in Belleville, Ill.

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