Amber Ryan was nearly killed in a tractor-trailer accident in 2015. She hasn’t been able to return to work, and has been through numerous surgeries since the accident. Ryan, a resident of Cadiz, is finally receiving compensation for her injuries from the trucking company that owned the big rig that hit her car, thanks to a settlement obtained by ELPO attorney and partner Kyle Roby.
“What happened to her never, ever should have happened,” Roby says. “The driver behind the wheel had driven for far too long and was disoriented and the trucking company was out of compliance with the law. We hope that those operating this company understand the gravity of what they’ve done and stay out of the industry permanently.”
The client will receive an $850,000 settlement to pay for medical costs, lost wages and to compensate for future lost wages. She is 21 years old, and due to her injuries, she may not ever be able to work again. She continues her recovery.
This wreck occurred on September 2, 2015 at about 6:15 a.m. on US 68/80 (Hopkinsville Road) and the Interstate 24 exit ramp in Cadiz, Kentucky. The accident happened at the bottom of the exit ramp, which is controlled by a stop sign. The truck driver, Delroy Gouldbourne, was exiting I-24 and should have stopped at the bottom of the ramp, but did not.
On the morning of the accident, the client was on her way to work. She was traveling East on US 68/80. Just prior to the accident, she was stopped at a stop light heading towards Hopkinsville. She approached the I-24 exit ramp as Gouldbourne exited I-24. He didn’t stop at the bottom. Instead, he attempted to cross five lanes of traffic to get back on to I-24, despite oncoming traffic that had the right of way. A witness confirmed Gouldbourne ran the stop sign and the driver of the car did everything she could possibly do to avoid the accident.
She was hospitalized for 9 days and has undergone multiple surgeries since the accident, and has not returned to work.
Those being sued in this case were Gouldbourne, J&B Logistics and Alfaro Transportation. The operators of J&B Transportation have previous history of operating trucking companies that were closed down by the federal government for failure to comply with even the basic rules of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act.
J&B Logistics officially was owned by Jose Gallardo Gonzalez, who filed the Articles of Incorporation in North Carolina on March 27, 2015. However, he had no other involvement with J and B. J and B owned the truck involved in the wreck. Alcides Alfaro and Jose Alfaro were the officers who performed the day-to-day operation of the company. Alfaro Transportation owned the trailer involved in the accident.
Throughout 2015, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sent multiple requests to J&B to conduct the initial Safety Audit and review the required safety documents that must be maintained by J&B. Following this accident, J&B was shut down by the FMCSA and their Motor Carrier number revoked by the FMCSA at the end of 2015. J&B is no longer operational.
Delroy Gouldbourne was hired by J&B and Alfaro Transportation on June 27, 2015. Prior to this, he had been fired in June 2015 for failing to have the required medical waiver for his diabetes. Under the FMCSR, the only medical waiver for diabetes is for an insulin dependent diabetic. During his deposition, it was determined that Gouldbourne was an unqualified driver and should have been forbidden from operating a commercial motor vehicle by Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.
When J and B hired Gouldbourne, the company did virtually no research on his past, including looking at his driving record or requiring him to do a road test, as required by law. “Even the most basic of review would have raised questions about his competency,” Roby said. “Tractor-trailers weigh several tons and you’re giving drivers a very large vehicle to handle. They should be completely competent to do so or not be behind the wheel.”
Beyond that, he had been in violation of several aspects of the law, including the number of hours he had been driving and falsifying a log of his driving time.
Digging out all of that history and evidence took days of intensive research, Roby says, as those operating the company had opened and shuttered several different transportation companies.
“This accident was entirely preventable,” Roby says. “We are pleased that those who were at fault agreed to settle this case so that she did not have to endure a lengthy trial or any further proceedings in this matter. While the amount of money she received may seem substantial, it pales in comparison to the quality of life and ability to earn an income that she has lost. We are honored that the she chose ELPO to represent her.”