Texas trucker sues Wyoming troopers

| 1/30/2002

A Texas truckdriver is suing seven Wyoming Highway Patrol officers, claiming a trooper negligently asked him to sit in his cruiser just before it was struck by another car. The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court seeks $1 million from the troopers involved.

Terry Bell, of Mansfield, TX, says he injured his neck and back in the Sept. 2000 accident along Interstate 25 near Casper.

According to the complaint, several inches of snow had fallen on the highway when Bell's tractor-trailer was rear-ended. After the crash, Trooper Chris Schell parked in the right lane and turned on his emergency lights. Schell reportedly asked Bell to sit in the cruiser and the car was struck by another vehicle while Bell was inside.

The lawsuit claims Bell is entitled to punitive damages because of Schell's "willful, wanton, reckless, and/or intentional acts, errors and omissions." The suit claims those who trained Schell are also responsible.

Department officials contend the allegations are unfounded and that the patrol vehicle was positioned properly at the scene of the accident with the overhead emergency lights and hazard lights activated to warn oncoming traffic.