According to a press release sent out Wednesday from an American law firm, the surviving family members of an Ontario family killed in 2015 in a crash on the I-95 in South Carolina, were awarded US$17 million in a jury trial.
Jeremiah Cross, 34, Crystal Cross, 32, and their infant son, seven-month-old Grayson Cross, all died in the horrific crash near Florence, S.C. At the time, the family was living in Trenton, Ont., and were travelling back from a vacation at Disney World in Florida.
The Joye Law Firm, representing the plaintiffs, said in a press release that an 18-wheeler owned by transportation company XPO Logistics, hit the Trenton family’s 2008 Honda SUV at over 110 km/h, completely demolishing car and setting it on fire.
The plaintiffs claimed that the driver of the 18-wheeler was alcohol-impaired at the time of the crash.
The plaintiff’s also claimed that the driver ignored signs warning about upcoming construction, and did not reduce his speed. Instead, the plaintiffs say he kept the truck at 112 km/h in cruise-control.
The plaintiffs’ counsel also alleged that after the crash, the driver and his co-worker attempted to hide evidence related to alcohol use, and that the at-fault driver refused to undergo alcohol testing.
In total, five vehicles and two other tractor trailers were involved in the crash on March 21, 2015. Two Pennsylvania residents, 51-year-old Jacqueline McCann and 52-year-old and Barry Himes, were also killed in the crash.
According to the plaintiff’s lawyer, the damage at the crash site was unimaginable.
“In nearly 30 years of practicing injury law, this was easily one of the worst crashes I’ve seen,” said attorney Mark C. Joye, lead attorney for the Cross family.
In deciding the case, the jury sided with the plaintiffs and directed the driver and XPO Logistics to pay US$17 million in damages. Before the verdict, the plaintiff’s law firm said the defendants’ highest settlement was US$13 million.
Jeremiah Cross was a soldier stationed at CFB in Petawawa, with the 2 Service Battalion. He was born in Trenton and according to his Facebook page, he graduated from East Northumberland Secondary School. At the time of his death, Jeremiah had been with the Canadian Armed Forces for almost three years, and was on paternity leave at the time of the crash, helping to raise his young son.
His wife, Crystal, was originally from Brighton, Ont., and worked as a civilian employee at CFB Trenton.
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