Lawsuit in deadly I-64 crash is settled

February 7, 2019

HUNTINGTON — A federal civil lawsuit filed in the wake of a deadly crash caused by an allegedly intoxicated driver has been settled for an undisclosed amount of money.

Jerrell Simmons, 70, of Wayne County, died April 28, 2017, at Cabell Huntington Hospital after having spent three weeks on life support after an April 7 crash near the 4-mile marker of Interstate 64 in Huntington that resulted in his vehicle being pushed 100 feet over a bridge when Elizabeth Lewis lost control of her vehicle.

The lawsuit was filed by Simmons’ widow in January 2018 against Dart Trucking Co. and truck operator Justin Adkins, Calgon Carbon Corp. and Lewis, who is currently facing charges in Wayne County of DUI resulting in death. She is still waiting for a possible indictment on that case.

The final settlement amount with Dart Trucking, Adkins and Calgon has been sealed, as part of the agreement. The money will go toward attorney fees and doctor bills, with the remaining money going to Simmons’ estate.

The wreck occurred in the westbound lanes where, according to a complaint, a tractor-trailer owned by Pegasus was traveling in front of Simmons, Lewis was operating a Ford Ranger truck in the left-hand lane, and a third vehicle behind Simmons was driven by Adkins, who was operating a semi-tractor owned by Dart and towing a trailer owned by Calgon.

Lewis allegedly lost control of her vehicle, traveling into the right lane of traffic and striking the Pegasus vehicle in front of Simmons. The complaint alleges Simmons slowed his vehicle out of caution upon seeing Lewis’ vehicle go into the right-hand lane of traffic, and his vehicle was allegedly hit from behind by the Dart truck operated by Adkins.

The crash resulted in Simmons’ vehicle going off the roadway and plummeting more than 100 feet over an I-64 overpass bridge that spans Spring Valley Drive.

The lawsuit said the defendants operated the vehicle negligently and failed to maintain a proper distance between vehicles, were speeding and failed to properly inspect their vehicle.

Simmons was extracted from the vehicle and taken to Cabell Huntington Hospital, where he died weeks later. For three weeks, he remained unconscious but stable with five fractured vertebrae, two broken legs, two punctured lungs by four broken ribs, a broken clavicle and a broken nose.

His time in the hospital was documented on social media stories by his son, Lane.

The settlement with Dart Trucking does not affect the claims against Lewis. Lewis was found to be in default in the lawsuit in May 2018 after she did not respond to allegations made against her in the same lawsuit.

Follow reporter Courtney Hessler at Facebook.com/CHesslerHD and via Twitter @HesslerHD.