A court has ordered KLLM
Transport Services Inc. to pay $6.8 million to the mother of Lindsey
Garretson, a teen-ager who died after her car was hit by a truck whose driver
was working for Vernon Sawyer Transportation, a KLLM subsidiary.
The Federal District Court
award was the result of a verdict reached Dec. 20 in the courtroom of Judge
Robert Echols. The jury found that KLLM ignored its own standards when it
hired Stuart Foy, the truckdriver accused of causing the August 2000 accident.
Rose Walker, L.L.P., the
law firm working for Garretson's mother, said in a statement that Foy had
eight preventable accidents and six moving violations in the three years
before he was hired at Vernon Sawyer and two additional minor accidents and
another four tickets in the months before the accident.
The law firm contended
that under the firm's policies, Foy's previous driving record should have
prevented him from being hired by a KLLM company, and his record after he
was hired should have led to his being fired.
"The company had hiring
standards that were designed to screen out reckless truckdrivers," Marty
Rose, principal at Rose Walker, said in a statement. "When they
hired Foy, they ignored those standards and knowingly put the traveling public
A receptionist at Vernon
Sawyer referred all calls on the suit to KLLM. A spokesman for KLLM was not
available for comment.