January 28, 2010 10:03:00 AM
STARKVILLE -- Jacorey Williams was asleep in the front seat of his grandmother''s car the afternoon of June 14, 2006, when he awoke with a start.
A 2005 Chevrolet pickup truck driven by 18-year-old Timothy Nootbaar, of Starkville, had just crossed the median of Highway 82 near the Oktibbeha-Lowndes County line, flipped and collided head-on with the 2005 Nissan Altima driven by his grandmother, Bonita Jordan.
"I heard yelling, and I woke up and saw glass and blood," Williams, now 16, said Wednesday from the witness stand in Oktibbeha County Circuit Court.
Nootbaar died as a result of the accident while Jordan, Jacorey Williams and his sister, Brittany Williams, who was in the back seat, were seriously injured and have since incurred "substantial" expenses for hospital visits, doctor appointments, drugs and other medical needs, according to a lawsuit the family filed in Oktibbeha County Circuit Court against Nootbaar''s estate and Hayes Hunt Logging Inc., of Sturgis. Nootbaar was working for Hayes Hunt Logging at the time of the accident.
The family, which has been in court all week and testified individually on Wednesday, filed for damages on account of personal injuries and other damages "sustained as a result of the negligence of the defendants, Hayes Hunt Logging and the Estate of Timothy B. Nootbaar," the lawsuit alleges.
Nootbaar owned the truck he was driving, but was working as an employee with the express knowledge, consent and permission of Hayes Hunt Logging at the time of the accident, the suit says.
The suit claims Nootbaar and, subsequently Hayes Hunt Logging, were negligent for failing to maintain their vehicle in the proper lane of travel; by driving their vehicle in the wrong direction on a marked highway; by failing to maintain a reasonable and proper lookout for other vehicles; for failing to keep their vehicle under reasonable and proper control; for failing to exercise reasonable and ordinary care as required by law; and operating their vehicles at an excessive rate of speed under the conditions.
A witness statement included in the lawsuit claims Nootbaar was traveling "at least around 80 miles per hour" when he lost control of his vehicle. It is still unclear what caused Nootbaar to lose control.
Jordan and her two grandchildren each are named as plaintiffs in the case against Nootbaar''s estate and Hayes Hunt Logging.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs -- Gregg Rogers of Louisville and J.C. Patton of Starkville -- rested their case Wednesday afternoon. The defense -- Nootbaar''s estate is represented by Robert Stacy, of Oxford, and Hayes Hunt is represented by Ken Coghlan, also of Oxford -- also rested Wednesday afternoon, despite calling no witnesses.
Judge Jim Kitchens dismissed the jury Wednesday at around 3 p.m., then went over jury instructions with attorneys on both sides of the aisle. Attorneys for the plaintiffs and the defendants will get 30 minutes each today for closing arguments before the jury rules in favor of one side or the other. The plaintiffs are asking for damages "in a reasonable amount," to be determined by the jury.
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