BOZEMAN, Mont. (CN) - A woman who found a man's face on the floor of a car wash blames a trucking company for it, claiming its driver ran over a man and left him dead on the road, whereupon another driver ran him over again, then washed his face off her car.
Kimberly Kriege sued CRST Expedited on Monday in Gallatin County Court. Aside from defendants John Does I-III, they are the only parties to the lawsuit.
Kriege, a veterinarian, says she drove her truck to the Super Car Wash in Livingston on Sept. 30, 2013, and found a human face on the floor of the wash bay. She immediately called police, who "treated [her] as a criminal suspect," impounded her truck, demanded a blood sample and held her for several hours, she says in the complaint.
The face belonged to 81-year old Elgie Bedford, of Alaska, who had been en route from Wasilla to Paris, Texas to visit his children and grandchildren.
Bedford, whose car had gone off the road, was walking along Interstate 90 near Big Timber on Sept. 30 when he was struck by a CRST truck driven by David Welk, according to the lawsuit and media reports.
"Welk turned his semi-truck around and drove to the impact location, where he used a flashlight to observe objects lying on the highway," Kriege says in the complaint. "Welk told his co-worker that he saw clothing and a duffle bag when he actually saw Bedford's body."
Kriege said Welk was obligated to call law enforcement to report the accident, but just "left the body on the highway, knowing that someone could be held responsible for the hit and run death."
Investigators believe Bedford's body had been struck by multiple vehicles before Montana Highway Patrol officers discovered it at about 7:30 a.m.
One driver who ran over the body was 31-year-old Wryan Young, who drove to the car wash in Livingston, where she cleaned her Ford pickup and "left a large portion of Bedford's face on the car wash floor," Kriege says in the complaint.
Kriege, says that finding "a large recognizable part of a human face" traumatized her severely, necessitating "intensive psychological counseling."
Welk, 45, of Marion, Ind., was arrested in Iowa on Jan. 23, 2014 after his co-driver called to report they had hit something. He was convicted in Sweet Grass County District Court in Big Timber the following October.
District Judge Katherine Bidegaray sentenced him on Jan. 6, 2015 to a 6-year deferred sentence for leaving the scene of the accident, giving him credit for the 348 days he spent in jail. Prosecutors unsuccessfully sought a 2-year jail sentence, according to The Associated Press.
Young, from Oak Harbor, Wash., was charged with leaving the scene of an accident and tampering with evidence. Her father, Westley Young, 50, who had been traveling with his daughter when she hit Bedford's body, was charged with tampering with evidence. At the time, both faced up to 10 years in prison and a $50,000 fine each.
Prosecutors in Sweet Grass and Park counties dismissed the charges against Wryan Young in late 2014, according to the Whidbey News-Times. She testified in Welk's trial in October 2014 and said she believed she had run over a piece of tan cloth, according to the News-Times.
Courthouse News was unable to ascertain the outcome of her father's case.
Kriege's attorney, Michael Sand in Bozeman, did not return a phone call Wednesday.
Kriege seeks medical expenses and damages for lost income, negligence, and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
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