January 28, 2010 4:43:00 PM
Tim Pratt -
STARKVILLE -- A Starkville family that was injured in a June 2006 accident on Highway 82 was awarded more than $200,000 Thursday in a civil suit against the estate of the other vehicle''s driver and his employer.
An Oktibbeha County jury ruled in favor of Bonita Jordan and her two grandchildren, Brittany Williams, 17, and Jacorey Williams, 16, each of whom were plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the estate of Timothy Nootbaar, of Starkville, and Hayes Hunt Logging Inc., of Sturgis. The jury awarded Jordan $180,000, Brittany Williams $17,500 and Jacorey Williams $10,000 in damages.
Jordan had racked up approximately $45,000 in medical bills for the injuries she sustained in the wreck, while Brittany and Jacorey Williams'' medical bills totaled approximately $10,000 and $4,000, respectively. Nootbaar, who was 18 when the accident occurred, died from his injuries.
Jordan and her grandchildren had no comment after the ruling Thursday, but their attorneys, Gregg Rogers, of Louisville, and J.C. Patton, of Starkville, said they were "comfortable" with the jury''s decision.
"You''re never totally pleased with the decision, but we''re comfortable with it," Patton said. "It was a fair verdict. We were comfortable with all three verdicts, but the only one we think might be a little low would be Brittany''s. Hers was a little bit less than what we thought."
Nootbaar was traveling westbound on Highway 82 near the Oktibbeha-Lowndes County line the afternoon of June 14, 2006, when he crossed the median, went airborn and landed on an eastbound 2005 Nissan Altima driven by Jordan. Jacorey Williams was a passenger in the front seat and Brittany Williams was in the back seat.
Investigators never determined what caused Nootbaar to lose control of his vehicle and cross the median.
According to testimony this week in Oktibbeha County Circuit Court, Jordan suffered a concussion, plus bone fractures in her knee and back. She also suffered injuries to her neck, mouth, pelvis, hips and ankle, and went through years of medical procedures and physical therapy.
Brittany Williams suffered sprains and bruising to her chest and shoulder, she said, and her ankle and knee, among other things. She testified earlier this week that the injuries forced her to quit playing clarinet because she wouldn''t have been able to march in the Starkville High School marching band. She still feels the effects of the accident to this day, she said.
"Some days I might hurt; some days it will be OK for me," she testified Wednesday. "I just can''t go outside like I used to and play with my brother and my friends because of my knee."
Jacorey Williams suffered through painful bruising to his chest and stomach, he testified this week.
Attorney Robert Stacy, of Oxford, represented Nootbaar''s estate and questioned all of the family members this week about when the pain they experienced actually began. He cited medical reports from the day of the accident where doctors didn''t mark "knee pain" as a symptom for Brittany or Jacorey Williams, yet they both testified this week that the knee pain began immediately after the accident.
During his closing arguments Thursday, Patton defended his clients, saying they felt pain "all over" immediately after the accident and might not have explained every single ache and pain to doctors.
"You''re certainly not going to be able to identify every physical complaint every time you go to the doctor," Patton said.
Hayes Hunt, owner of Hayes Hunt Logging, had no comment after the ruling. Nootbaar''s father, Keith, had very little to say.
"It''s just a tragic accident with no explanation," Keith Nootbaar said.