Widower sues UPS, truck driver for negligence in death of wife

The husband of a 65-year-old woman killed in a crash west of Cheyenne last year is suing the United Parcel Service and the driver of the truck that killed her.In a complaint filed Wednesday in federal court, attorneys for James Berrigan argue that the wrongful death of his wife, JoelAnne Berrigan, caused irreparable harm to him and several family members.The complaint argues that the negligence of the UPS semitrailer combination driver Michael Shedd caused the 65-year-old’s death and asks for “damages far (exceeding) $75,000.”A spokesman for UPS said in an email Friday afternoon that the company doesn’t comment on pending litigation.Shedd was charged shortly after the crash with vehicular homicide, but that charge was later dismissed.JoelAnne Berrigan’s death happened on April 21 on Interstate 80 just west of Cheyenne.The Wyoming Department of Transportation had flashed a message reading “FOG – USE CAUTION” because of low visibility. The road conditions on that day varied from wet to slick, according to the complaint.Shortly after 2:30 p.m., the UPS semitrailer combination was heading west in the westbound lanes while Jim Berrigan drove a Penske moving truck in the right lane. His wife, JoelAnne Berrigan, was following him.At about 2:35 p.m., Shedd’s semitrailer came up behind JoelAnne Berrigan “traveling at a rate that far exceeded Mr. Shedd’s ability to see and control his vehicle under the existing conditions,” the complaint states.A vehicle in front of Jim Berrigan slowed down, so Jim Berrigan braked, and so did JoelAnne Berrigan.
Shedd, however, did not.
He overtook the Honda CR-V that JoelAnne Berrigan was driving but didn’t change lanes “instead crashing into the rear and driving on top of a portion of the back of Ms. Berrigan’s Honda CR-V,” the complaint states.The impact of Shedd’s semitrailer caused her to run into the back of her husband’s rental truck.Jim Berrigan was able to pull into the right lane, but the UPS truck pushed JoelAnne Berrigan’s CR-V into the left lane and down into the median, where the semitrailer came to rest on top of the Honda, according to the complaint.The complaint alleges general negligence and “negligent infliction of emotional” distress on Jim Berrigan, who saw the crash that caused his wife’s death.It asks for damages for JoelAnne Berrigan’s beneficiaries, including her husband and a dozen other family members, according to the complaint.“The conduct of the defendants was reckless, willful, wanton and indifferent toward the motoring public under these circumstances, subjecting defendants to punitive and exemplary damages,” the complaint states.

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