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$2.86 Million Settlement for Family of Woman Killed in Crash Caused by Defective Trailer Hitch

On September 26, 1999, Angel was driving on Somonauk Road in DeKalb County with her two sons when a detached boat trailer entered her lane of traffic and slammed into her car. Angel later died, leaving behind her sons and an adult daughter.

Attorneys Peter Flowers and Craig Brown, representing Angel’s estate, filed suit against Richard Guerine, who was driving a Jeep Cherokee towing the boat trailer. Guerine momentarily drove onto the Somonauk Road shoulder, which caused the trailer to detach from the Cherokee’s tow ball.

Also named as defendants were Minnesota-based Atwood trailer maker Atwood Inc. and J.Q. Tex Inc. of Indiana.

Using experts in accident reconstruction and in mechanical engineering, Mr. Flowers and Mr. Brown were able to show that an improper trailer hitch design caused Guerine’s trailer to become disconnected from his vehicle after he drove onto the shoulder. Guerine was also shown to be at fault for allowing his Cherokee to leave the road, leading to the trailer mishap that caused Angel’s death.

One day before a scheduled trial, a settlement was reached that awarded Angel's family $2.86 million from Guerine, Atwood and J.Q. Tex. This lawsuit was filed in Cook County under case number 02L3344.

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