Widow of man who fell from bridge files wrongful death lawsuit

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The widow of an African immigrant who died in June 2011 after falling from the Brent Spence Bridge in Cincinnati has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against another driver.

According to police records, the 42-year-old Westwood man was southbound on the bridge, which connects Ohio and Kentucky, when the fatal accident occurred. His 1996 Chevrolet Camaro stalled, possibly because it ran out of gas. The man exited his car to seek help, and the driver behind him stopped and turned on his vehicle’s hazard lights.

Just at that moment, a Toyota Sienna van slammed into the vehicle behind the Camaro. The chain-reaction accident broke the African immigrant’s leg and pushed him over the side of the bridge, according to police records.

The wrongful death lawsuit, filed in Hamilton County, Ohio, seeks unspecified monetary damages from the driver of the Toyota Sienna and his employer, Acme Lock. The suit alleges the driver of the Toyota Sienna was driving too fast when he caused the chain-reaction crash. It also accused him of following too closely to the vehicle in front of him.

According to the court filing, the man was also looking down and not paying attention to traffic at the time of the accident.

The African immigrant was alive as he fell 80-feet from the bridge to the Ohio River, the court filings say. He drowned because he was unable to swim with a broken leg. His death caused his widow and their two children “extreme grief, mental anguish,” the lawsuit alleges.

According to attorneys for the man’s widow, she and her children returned to Africa following the accident.

Kentucky prosecutors have not filed criminal charges against the driver of the Toyota Sienna in connection with the incident.

Source: The Cincinnati Enquirer, “Brent Spence bridge victim alive when he hit water,” Kimball Perry, Jan. 4, 2012.