A jury in Stone County has awarded a woman $1.1 million dollars for injuries she suffered in a crash with a church van in 2006.
Attorneys for Donna Hay say their client suffered debilitating injuries when Diana Edwards slammed the van owned by First Baptist Church of Mountain Grove into the back of Hay's vehicle.
“They were stopped in traffic at the turnoff for Dogwood Canyon when they were rear-ended by a church bus driven by Diana Edwards,” Grant Rahmeyer said. “Our client, Donna, suffered back injuries in the wreck. She ended up having a fusion surgery and is still dealing with the complications from the back injuries.”
The lawsuit alleged Edwards knew the vehicle had defective brakes and Edwards carelessly and negligently operated the 15-passenger van.
“The evidence was that she (Edwards) first noticed that the 15-passenger van’s brakes felt funny in Ozark.”
Defense attorneys claimed Hay suffered from a pre-existing back injury.
The plaintiff's attorney's dismissed First Baptist Church from any liability about half way through the week long trial.
Rahmeyer said the verdict is covered by the insurance policy the church took out on the van.
This is not the largest civil verdict in the county's history. Last year a Stone County jury awarded over $3 million in a wrongful death lawsuit to the daughters of Gary McCullough. McCullough went missing in the 1990's and his remains have still not been found. That case was moved to Stone County on a change of venue from Barry County and defense attorneys are appealing the verdict and monetary award.
Rahmeyer says he also expects attorneys in this case to appeal the verdict.