Trucker Hit With Massive Lawsuit Despite Being Cleared in Fatal Crash
Grand Forks County, ND – A woman who lost two young children in an accident with a big rig has filed a $10 million lawsuit against the trucker and trucking company, alleging negligence even though authorities found none.
Trista Curry, 31 of Fargo, and the father of her children, Bryan Dean, filed a wrongful death lawsuit last week in U.S. District Court against Pan-O-Gold Baking Company and truck driver, 50-year-old Michael Soyring, of Fargo.
Killed in the March 2018 crash was Curry’s 9-year-old son Camden and 1-year-old son Maxwell.
Curry’s 3-year-old daughter, Avalon, was also injured in the crash, along with Curry, who was driving.
The double fatal accident occurred on March 25, 2018 along Interstate 29.
Grand Forks County investigators say Curry was operating a 2013 Honda Pilot SUV northbound in snowy weather conditions when she attempted to pass a tractor-trailer driven by Soyring.
When she did, investigators say she lost control of the vehicle and spun in the path of Soyring’s big rig.
The semi-truck then struck the passenger side of the SUV sending it off of the roadway and into the ditch along the right side of the interstate.
After a nearly 5 month investigation, Grand Forks County State’s Attorney declined to file charges in the case against Curry, Soyring or Pan-O-Gold.
In a release, the State’s Attorney said Soyring was driving in a reasonable manner, taking into consideration road and weather conditions, and was not driving at an excessive speed for the conditions.
Further, the State’s Attorney said investigators found no fault on the part of Pan-O-Gold in the hiring or training of Soyring.
Investigators also found no evidence of failure to properly maintain the commercial vehicle or equipment.
In the newly filed lawsuit, Curry and Dean allege Soyring failed to operate with “extreme caution,” was driving too fast for the conditions, and did not provide a reasonable distance for traffic ahead of him.
Additionally, the lawsuit alleges a litany of other failures on Soyring’s part including, but not limited to: not properly performing “pre-trip, during-trip and post-trip inspections,” not properly identifying mechanical defects, not appropriately planning his route, not following pavement markers, not maintaining his lane of travel, not looking “far enough ahead to avoid hard braking,” not driving defensively, and not driving “without confusion.”
The complaint also asserts Pan-O-Gold was negligent because company officials should have directed Soyring not to operate in the weather conditions at the time of the crash.
Curry and Dean contend Pan-O-Gold “knew or should have known” about the “adverse weather conditions” at the time of the accident.
The couple also alleges the trucking company failed to properly maintain and inspect the equipment and the rig was not equipped with “standard safety equipment” that could have prevented the deadly crash.
The suit is asking for a six person jury trial to hear the case and in excess of $10,000,000 in damages.
In addition to damages, the complainants are also seeking punitive awards.
The initial accident did not received a significant amount of national media attention.
However, Curry gave birth to twin daughters on February 18, 2019, which did receive national coverage and was featured on programs such as NBC’s Today Show and Inside Edition.
Curry’s lawsuit will also likely receive quite a bit of media attention as well.
Transportation Nation Network will continue to follow the case.