Man Files $1.5 Million Suit Over Accident At Landfill

Dumping Instructions Blamed For Injuries

March 18, 1992|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,Staff writer

A Woodstock man has filed a $1.5 million lawsuit against the county,claiming that he suffered serious and permanent injuries at the Alpha Ridge landfill, owned and operated by the Department of Public Works.

John F. Hunter, of the 10600 block of St. Paul Avenue, alleges that because an attendant at the landfill in Marriottsville gave him improper dumping instructions, he had a head-on collision with a large heavy-equipment truck.

The suit says Hunter suffered a fracture of his left hip and a compound fracture of his right leg. As part of his medical care he had nine screws drilled into his ankle and leg and numerous surgical procedures, including a skin graft.

A professional truck driver beforethe accident, Hunter says that he can no longer pursue his profession because of his injuries. He claims his medical problems will continue to prevent him from earning the wages he once did.

The suit alleges that the landfill attendant should have known that his dumping instructions placed Hunter at unreasonable risk and in danger of an accident.

County Executive Charles I. Ecker said he had not seen thelawsuit and declined to comment.

Hunter arrived at the landfill about 10:20 a.m. on Dec. 8, 1989, to dispose of a dishwasher carton, the suit says. It had been snowing heavily, and the temperature was below freezing, the suit states.

The landfill attendant directed Hunter, who was driving a Ford pickup truck, to take his box to the industrial dumping area near the rear of the landfill, the suit says.

Hunter says he objected to these instructions and suggested that he go to the "ordinary public dumping place," but the attendant insisted that he follow directions.

Using caution, Hunter disposed of his box and began to exit the dumping area, the suit says. On the way out,a head-on collision with a heavy-equipment truck totaled Hunter's pickup and threw him from the vehicle.

According to the suit, Hunter's right foot was turned backward and a bone was sticking out of his right calf. His legs were pinned in the truck and his head and body were hanging from the truck.

Hunter claims he lay in the snow for 45 minutes before an ambulance arrived.

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