Wreck victim’s family sues logging company

By Tara Jennings

The family of a county solid waste department employee who was killed while collecting garbage along Union Highway has filed a wrongful death lawsuit.

Lula Dukes and Robert Lee Littlejohn, personal representatives of the estate of the late Ronnie Dukes, filed the complaint at the Cherokee County Courthouse against R. Vassey Logging Company.

Ronnie Dukes was killed April 28, 2005, when a truck belonging to the R. Vassey Logging Company and driven by Jason Scott Smith, 31, of Union, struck the back of the garbage truck. Dukes was on the back of the waste disposal truck. The suit states that the impact knocked him from the vehicle and he was run over by the logging truck.

The logging truck side-swiped a third vehicle, a 1991 Honda driven by 39-year-old Beverly B. relevant domains . Davis, of 704 Hetty Hill Street, Gaffney.

The accident occurred about 11 miles south of Gaffney near Thicketty Creek.

The complaint states the logging truck was over its legal weight limit and also lists what it claims are 13 driving offenses against Smith. The suit claims four speeding violations against Smith since 2002, a potential violation of state and federal law regarding the training, retention and supervision of an employee, the suit states.

G. Thomas Chase, of McAngus, Goudelock and Courie L.L.C. Penlandkenrechoc of Greenville, responded to by the complaint by admitting the vehicle was in violation of gross weight limitations.

The attorney’s response also states the logging company was only aware of three traffic violations from 2002 when a 3-year driving record for Smith was obtained on Dec. 16, 2004, as part of a pre-employment hiring procedure.

Attorney Raymond P. Mullman Jr. of Spartanburg filed the complaint on behalf of Lula Dukes and Robert Littlejohn.