Crash that killed father of 11 sparks lawsuit

November 23, 2016 GMT

AUSTIN — A Canadian man and the trucking companies he worked for are named as defendants in a wrongful death lawsuit stemming from a fatal crash in February.

Harold O. Bredesen, 56, was killed Feb. 18 when a semitrailer driven by Sarjant Singh Nanrey, 40, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, crossed the center line of U.S. Highway 63 and slammed into the pickup Bredesen was driving, the civil suit claims.

The lawsuit was filed in Mower County District Court on behalf of Bredesen’s wife, Mary, and their 11 children, the youngest of whom is in elementary school.

It also names two transport companies and the company Nanrey reportedly owns, S. Nanrey Logistics Ltd.

Bredesen left his home in Racine that day shortly before noon, heading to his job at the Rochester International Airport, where he’d worked for more than 30 years.

As he drove north on U.S. 63, the suit alleges, the southbound truck driven by Nanrey “suddenly and without warning ... crossed over the center line and careened into northbound traffic.” The pickup Bredesen was driving slid underneath the empty trailer and was dragged off the road, coming to rest in a field with Bredesen trapped inside.

Driving conditions at the time were windy and snowy, the Minnesota State Patrol crash report indicates.

According to the lawsuit, Bredesen “was likely aware of the oncoming semi for a period of time, but was unable to avoid it. ... Although he survived briefly after the initial impact, Bredesen died at the scene of the crash.”

The suit alleges Nanrey drove at an unsafe speed for the weather conditions, recklessly and carelessly operating the semitrailer, adding “together, all of the defendants named in the case created an unreasonable and substantial risk to Mr. Bredesen and others driving on public roads.”

Bredesen’s wife and children passed the scene of the crash that day, the court documents say.

“State and federal law requires all truck drivers (whether from Canada or the U.S.) to use extreme caution in hazardous conditions which adversely affect traction, such as the icy roadway conditions which are reported to have existed on Highway 63 that morning,” said Diane Marger Moore, Mary Bredesen’s attorney.

“Trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and are much more difficult to control and stop than passenger vehicles, particularly in slippery conditions,” she said. “Therefore, truck drivers have an increased responsibility to anticipate hazardous conditions and drive safely ... to avoid such horrific crashes.”

The lawsuit seeks recovery for the wrongful death of Bredesen as provided by the state of Minnesota, including survival damages to the extent provided by the law.

Bredesen was born in Rochester, grew up in and around Stewartville and attended Stewartville schools. He and Mary had been married for 36 years.

In addition to their 11 children, the couple has 18 grandchildren.

According to his obituary, Bredesen “enjoyed talking to people from all over the world while working at the Rochester International Airport. Harold loved spending time with his wife and family, four-wheeling, snowmobiling, fishing, hunting, planting flowers, taking last-minute road trips, even playing with toy tractors and dolls or just sitting and enjoying a good swing ride outside. He enjoyed going to classic tractor shows, as well as tractor pulling shows.”