MILWAUKEE (AP) — The widow of a truck driver who plunged off a Wisconsin interstate overpass to avoid a fiery collision is suing a company whose driver she says caused the crash by hitting a construction barrier.
Lillian Moss Johnson filed a lawsuit on Thursday against Warehouse Transport Services over the death of her husband, Jeffrey Johnson, the Wisconsin Journal Sentinel reported.
Authorities called the 45-year-old truck driver a hero for diverting his vehicle to avoid striking cars in the June 19 crash on I-94 in Racine County.
The lawsuit accuses Warehouse Transport of negligence in its hiring, training and supervision of Kenneth Rogers, a semi-trailer driver who also died in the crash.
Rogers was driving southbound on Interstate 94 when he hit a construction barrier, overcorrected and crashed into a median that separated the northbound traffic, according to the lawsuit. It caused three northbound cars to crash into the barrier, leading Jeffrey Johnson to veer away from the collision.
Both trailers burst into flames, setting other cars on fire and sending plumes of smoke into the air, according to Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling.
Johnson’s lawsuit alleges Rogers’ reckless driving caused the crash. She is seeking unspecified damages for her husband’s death.
The lawsuit also names Warehouse Transport’s parent company, Hansen Storage Company.
Neither company had commented on the suit by Friday.
The crash occurred near Mount Pleasant, which is about 24 miles south of Milwaukee. At least three drivers of the passenger vehicles were injured in the collision.
The Milwaukee attorney Jay Urban, who represents Johnson’s estate, said Johnson had a long career in trucking and took pride in his job.
“The silver lining in this was what a hero he was,” Urban said. “His first thought was to save lives, almost like a first responder.”