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4 sue trucker over US 30 pileup

In the fourth lawsuit stemming from a deadly January New Haven crash, four survivors sued a Wisconsin man for damages and the trucking company that employed him.

Filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Fort Wayne by Meredith Ritchie, Robert Gardner, Fred Pottschmidt and Ryan Swart, the lawsuit seeks restitution for medical bills, lost wages and other compensatory damages.

The lawsuit names Scott Saunders, the semi driver, and Kutzler Express as defendants, claiming that Saunders was negligent in how he operated his semi that day. They allege the company was negligent as well, failing to properly train him to safely drive the truck and failing to notice he did not have the skill or judgment to do so.

According to court documents, the four plaintiffs from northern Kentucky and the Cincinnati area were in a vehicle driven by Pottschmidt and stopped at a red light at U.S. 30 East and Doyle Road in New Haven.

Their vehicle and others were hit from behind by a semi driven by Saunders, which, according to police, failed to slow down or stop as the light turned from red to green.

A total of seven people were injured in the pileup. Two other people were killed.

Sandra Dealey, 43, and Suzanne K. Stephenson, 65, of Monroeville, both died from blunt-force trauma. The two women were in separate vehicles.

Their family members have also sued Kutlzer Express and Saunders, as has Marsha Sarrazin, another of the injured.

In a response to the wrongful-death lawsuits, Kutzler Express denied many of the allegations against it and said the family may have received “collateral source” benefits since the crash, according to documents filed recently.

At the time of the first lawsuit, Kutzler Express officials said the company was saddened by the deaths and injuries suffered in the crash and was cooperating with investigators.

No charges have been filed in the crash.