Monday, August 15, 2022

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Bystander in fatal crash on N.C. Hwy. 54 suing deceased driver’s estate

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A Burlington man who was a bystander involved in a fatal crash along N.C. Highway 54 in Graham in March of this year is suing the deceased driver’s estate and two other defendants for injuries he claims to have sustained.

Carlos Ernesto Cuellar of Burlington has filed a lawsuit in Alamance County superior court against Mark Allen DeWeese – who allegedly fatally crashed with a motorcyclist on Highway 54 in March of this year –his employer, Rendeq, Inc., which describes itself as a recycler of “equipment for the protein and pet food industries” and has an office in Haw River. Also named as a defendant to the suit is Jennifer Lloyd Ball, in her capacity as the administrator for the estate of Alvin Lewis Lloyd, who the lawsuit claims was fatally injured in the crash.

In his suit, Cuellar claims he was traveling east along N.C. Highway 54 in a 2013 Nissan passenger car at approximately 10:53 p.m. on March 22, 2022 and eventually became entangled in the fatal crash.

At the same time, Alvin Lloyd was driving a 2014 Harley Davidson motorcycle on Highway 54, also heading in easterly direction; and DeWeese was driving a 2021 Dodge Ram pickup truck, owned by his employer Rendeq and traveling east on N.C. Highway 54.

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Lloyd was traveling east behind Cueller and passed the Nissan on the lefthand side “at a high rate of speed,” the suit alleges.

Moments later, Cuellar spotted debris and reflective material in the roadway about a mile down and began to decelerate. After slowing down, he could see “the reflective material that had caught his attention was the back of Alvin Lloyd’s motorcycle, which was lying down in the road,” the complaint states. As he saw Lloyd attempting to move his motorcycle out of the roadway, Cuellar claims he stopped and offered to help, at which point Lloyd told him that another driver “had brake-checked him causing him to lay down the Harley Davidson.”

“Cuellar pulled his car completely over onto the right shoulder of N.C. 54 to assist Alvin Lloyd to move the motorcycle out of the road,” he recalls in the complaint. “Before exiting the vehicle, [Cuellar] turned on his hazard lights, turned on the flashlight feature on his phone to better see the road, and lit a cigarette as he stepped out of the vehicle.”

While making his way over to assist the motorcyclist, Cuellar claims he saw the Dodge Ram being driven by DeWeese approaching at a high rate of speed. Lloyd was still in the roadway with his motorcycle when Cuellar began waving his arms and yelling “Stop!” to try to get DeWeese to slow down. (According to the suit, Rendeq is named as a defendant to the suit because DeWeese was driving a company truck.)

“Realizing that DeWeese was not slowing down or stopping, [Cuellar] called out to Alvin Lloyd and then fled toward the righthand side of the road,” based on the chain of events the plaintiff outlines in his suit.

Lloyd was still in the roadway with his motorcycle when “DeWeese struck the motorcycle sending debris flying into Cuellar hard enough to knock him to the ground,” the complaint alleges.

The lawsuit alleges that DeWeese struck Lloyd, killing him, and ran off the righthand side of the road “at a high rate of speed,” striking Cuellar’s Nissan and causing “heavy damage.”

DeWeese maneuvered back onto the highway “at a high rate of speed going across the lanes of traffic [before] finally coming to a stop on the opposite shoulder facing oncoming traffic,” the suit asserts.

Cuellar subsequently located Lloyd’s body, laying face down, near the shoulder of the road and called 911. While he performed CPR as instructed by a 911 dispatcher, “it was visibly apparent that Alvin Lloyd had sustained a major head injury and his injuries were fatal,” the complaint states.

Cuellar’s suit alleges that DeWeese drove the Dodge Ram truck carelessly and recklessly, in disregard for others’ safety; drove the truck at an excessive speed such as to endanger others; and was driving the truck “while his ability or alertness was impaired through fatigue, illness, or any other cause as to make it unsafe for him to operate the truck.” Cuellar alleges that DeWeese’s actions resulted in the “brutal death” of Alvin Lloyd and caused Cuellar to sustain injuries to his elbow, back and hip, as well as to cause him to experience depression; anxiety; post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); significant damage to his vehicle; and lost wages due to his inability to return to his prior earning capacity.

Cuellar is seeking more than $25,000 in damages against DeWeese for his alleged physical injuries, medical expenses, severe emotional distress, and damage to his vehicle. He is also seeking a second award for more than $25,000 in damages against DeWeese for carelessly and heedlessly disregarding the safety of others.

Cuellar is also requesting more than $25,000 in damages against DeWeese’s employer Rendeq, which the plaintiff claims owned the vehicle that DeWeese was driving at the time of the crash. He is seeking a second award of more than $25,000 in damages against Rendeq for “independent negligent and wanton conduct,” which he contends “owed a duty to implement policies, procedures, guidelines, and standards necessary to reasonably protect such persons from harm caused by their operations.”

Cuellar is requesting than $25,000 in damages against the estate of Alvin Lloyd for alleged negligence by operating his motorcycle in a careless and reckless manner, endangering Cuellar’s life and that of others who may have been traveling along Highway 54 at the time.

In addition to the physical injuries and damage to his vehicle, Cuellar claims that “observing the brutal death of Alvin Lloyd” has caused him to suffer loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, depression, anxiety, insomnia, nightmares, severe emotional distress, and post-traumatic stress disorder, the lawsuit alleges.

The lawsuit was filed in Alamance County civil superior court last week.

The court file lists Cuellar’s address as 1924 Morningside Drive, Unit E, in Burlington. He is being represented by the Deuterman Law Group in Greensboro.

The court file does not give the addresses for the individual defendants, Mark Allen DeWeese and Jennifer Lloyd Ball. The court file lists the address for Rendeq as 174 Trollingwood Road, Haw River. The defendants had not filed a response by press time.

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