Company ordered to pay massive $280 million payout for semi vs. SUV crash that killed 5

Prosecutors argued that driver fatigue contributed to the 2016 crash.

5 fatal crash

A Georgia jury has awarded a family an historical payout in the wake of a fatal 2016 tractor trailer vs. SUV collision.

On Friday, August 23, a jury in Muscogee County, Georgia, awarded plaintiff Larry Madere $280,065,000 in his wrongful death lawsuit against Schnitzer Steel, according to a report from WRBL.

Schnitzer Southeast, Columbus, Georgia-based Schnitzer Steel Industries, and truck driver Kenneth Cathey were all named in the lawsuit.

The wrongful death suit was filed after a fatal crash that occurred on the Highway 80 near Phenix City, Alabama, on July 18th, 2016.

The jury reportedly heard that in that crash, Cathey crossed the center line and struck an SUV head-on. Prosectors said that Cathey did not make evasive maneuvers and questioned whether he fell asleep, though Cathey denies that he did.

Judy Madere, 58 years old, Trudy Herbert, 58 years old, Carrie Jones, 23 years old, along with Jones’ two children, 7 year old Trinity and 4 year old Jackson, all died in the crash.

Prosecutors pointed out that Cathey had been involved in another serious crash in Auburn, Alabama, a few years before the 2016 crash. They also said that Cathey had slept no more than 4 hours prior to the crash.

The suit was filed in Georgia even though the crash happened in Alabama because Schnitzer Steel is based in Georgia.

The settlement has been named the largest in local circuit court history.

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