AUSTIN, Texas (CN) — Two lawsuits claim a driver for an Austin-based waste disposal company collided with a highway overpass in Sealy and caused debris to crush another vehicle, killing a teenage girl.
On July 22, Brandon Gardner sued Texas Disposal Systems in Travis County court. He is the father of Bre’in Bullock, who died in the accident.
In the other lawsuit, filed on July 27 in Travis County, Leah Kaye Bullock sued Texas Disposal Systems and its employee Carl Weige. She sued on behalf of the estate of her daughter Bre’in Bullock — identified as B.B.G. in the complaint — as well as her minor children who were injured in the incident.
The lawsuits say that on July 7, Weige was driving a garbage truck southbound on State Highway 36 in Sealy, Texas, and approached the U.S. 90 overpass. Weige, though, had improperly kept the truck’s boom arm raised. The arm is used to hoist trash bins onto the truck.
“While approaching the Highway 90 overpass at a high rate of speed, and with boom dangerously extended, defendant Weige’s truck and hydraulic hoist did in fact strike the fixed overpass with great force. As a result of defendant Weige’s failure to lower the hydraulic hoist lift, in disregard of the relevant standard of care, traffic control devices on the road, and the safety of others on the road, a portion of the fixed overpass collapsed, causing massive pieces of cement to fall on the roadway underneath, to the peril of motorists sharing the road the defendant Weige,” reads Bullock’s complaint.
Leah Bullock and her children were in their car going north on State Highway 36 when they passed under the U.S. 90 bridge. Their vehicle was crushed by the debris falling from the bridge after Weige struck it with his garbage truck.
“The crash destroyed Bullock’s car such that it was unrecognizable but more importantly, killed her 12-year-old daughter, B.B.G., and caused serious bodily injury to Leah Bullock and her other children B.T.G. and K.L. who were involved in and/or witnessed the collision,” Bullock’s complaint says.
Sealy Police Chief Chris Noble told NBC affiliate KPRC that there is a warning system to alert trucks of the height of the U.S. 90 bridge.”There is a wire that is suspended across the street with metal tubes or cylinders that hang down. There’s a huge sign that says if you hit this, you are going to hit the bridge,” he said.
Noble also said that witnesses who were driving behind Weige saw his truck hit the cylinders and keep going.
Texas Disposal Systems released a statement saying: “We regret a TDS truck was involved in an incident impacting an overpass in Sealy, Texas. We have been told there was a fatality and are saddened by the loss resulting from this incident. Our deepest sympathies go to the family members and friends.”
A representative for the Texas Department of Transportation said in an email that the damage to the US 90/Highway 36 bridge was extensive and that the bridge has been removed. A new bridge is planned for the location, and contractors will be bidding on the project in September. More clearance will be added to the bridge when it is reconstructed, the representative said.
The plaintiffs in both complaints seek damages for wrongful death, negligence and gross negligence.
Gardner, who is represented by Anthony Buzbee, wants damages of up to $50 million.
Bullock et al. want over $1 million in damages. They are represented by John Escamilla and Ronald Collins.
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