Pennington Gap man and trucking company being sued for wrongful death

A Virginia man and the trucking company he worked for at the time of a wreck on U.S. 119 at Varilla Curve are being named in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the estate of one of the victims. The March wreck took the lives of two people.

The lawsuit filed in Bell County Circuit Court is requesting compensation for the wrongful death of Lavonda Hensley. Hensley and James Miracle were killed in the wreck involving a 2012 Peterbilt tractor trailer operated by 42-year-old Anthony W. Brewer of Pennington Gap, Virginia.

The amended complaint filed on April 18 names Brewer and Vernon Lamar II Trucking as defendants. Donna Neubert, administratrix of Hensley’s estate, is the plaintiff. The original complaint was filed on April 7.

According to the amended complaint, Brewer’s operator’s license and CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) were suspended at the time of the wreck, and he had a history of driving infractions including convictions for speeding, careless driving and operating a motor vehicle under the influence. At the time of the crash, Brewer allegedly had a history of alcohol and controlled substance use.

The amended complaint states Lamar Trucking had a duty to use reasonable care to select an employee who was competent and fit to perform the duties required, and to investigate and perform a reasonable background inspection of the driving record of its employees. The filing further states Lamar Trucking knew, or should have known, Brewer was not competent or fit for the duties required.

Hensley’s estate is seeking a jury trial, and asking for compensatory and punitive damages, attorney fees and any and all relief to which the plaintiff may be entitled.

According to CVE Public Affairs Officer Steven Douglas in an earlier report, through investigation officers found the truck was traveling north on U.S. 119 when he crossed the center line, sideswiping a 1996 red Ford pickup truck being operated by 47-year-old Tony Hatfield of Pineville, causing it to overturn.

Brewer was arrested by the Kentucky State Police shortly after the wreck. His charges included leaving the scene of an accident/failure to render aid, operating on a suspended/revoked operator’s license and operating a vehicle with a suspended commercial driver license. He was also served with a bench warrant. Brewer has remained incarcerated in the Bell County Detention Center since that time. He is being held on a total of $550,000 cash bonds in addition to a $808 pay or stay bond on the bench warrant.


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