A jury returned a $1 million verdict in a civil case this week in Ware Superior Court in favor of a special needs Waycross man who was seriously injured in a wreck more than two years ago.
Daniel Turner was 32 years old on March 2, 2016 when a Camaro owned by Jack Williams of Patterson rear-ended an Easter Seals van near Lariscy’s Crossing on U.S. 84. Turner was a passenger in the van.
Doug Gibson, of Gibson and Associates, represented Turner, and Gibson said mechanic Ricky McCallister was test-driving the Camaro on the day of the crash.
“Jack Williams had left his vehicle to have its LT1 engine rebuilt,” Gibson said. “An LT1 engine is a high performance engine that is used in Corvettes.”
Gibson said that McCallister, one of the mechanics employed to rebuild the engine, “used Mr. Williams’ vehicle to take his wife to lunch and stated that the engine was running good and strong. He said he was looking at the road go by and that he never saw the Easter Seals van before he collided with it.”
Gibson said the vehicles collided with such force the Camaro was totaled and the van’s spare tire flew from underneath the van at such a high speed that it was propelled far down the highway and was not found until several weeks later.
Turner, described by Gibson as “a special needs young adult” whose passion was amusement park rides, suffered several broken bones in his neck.
“Due to the thorough assessment of Chamois Campbell, a Pierce County paramedic, Turner’s life and ability to walk were spared,” said Gibson. “The breaks in Daniel’s neck resulted in significant hardware being surgically placed in his neck.”
Gibson argued to the jury that Turner “experienced intense pain following the wreck and will continue to experience pain for the remainder of his life. He will be at risk for additional surgeries in the future.”
Turner’s “one true enjoyment in life was to ride the rides at Wild Adventures,” Gibson said. “Due to his injury and the resulting surgery, he is no longer able to ride the rides.”
Despite the extensive hardware in Turner’s neck and doctor’s testimony of the future risk to Turner, the defense counsel argued to the jury that Turner was completely healed.
“Apparently the jury was not convinced as they returned a verdict in favor of Turner in the amount of a million dollars,” Gibson said.
Payment of the damages will be the obligation of the uninsured motorist carrier Selective Insurance.
Gibson was assisted by his paralegals, Chris Hiers and Brian Cover.
The trial was presided over by Judge David Cavender.
Gibson said the $1 million verdict was only the fourth verdict for that amount (or greater) ever returned in Ware County. It was also the second million dollar verdict that Doug Gibson of Gibson and Associates has obtained.
(Jack Williams, the owner of the Camaro, was not an involved litigant in the court case; he was neither a plaintiff nor a defendant.)