Gilbert v WM defense presentation cut

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  • Eli Gilbert v. Erik Johnson and Waste ManagementDefense PresentationbyWilliam J. Conroy, Esquire*

  • Vacant LotWawaBath RoadRoute 413Vacant Lot*

  • Two Tractor-Trailers Parked in the Lot on the Morning of the Accident*

  • Waste Management Team Consisted of:Erik Johnson driver of the trash truckGary Ausemore right front seat pssgr in trash truckKevin Richmond driver of trailing pickup truck*

  • Both Eli Gilbert and Erik Johnson had the right to legally enter the vacant lot

    Both pedestrians and vehicles were allowed to enter the lot to use the Goodwill drop-box

    *

  • Overall the parking lot area where the crash occurred is best described as dark and unlighted.Plaintiffs Expert Agrees that the Lot was Dark*

  • Erik Johnson worked with paramedics Maynard Hathaway and Anthony Correia to remove Eli Gilbert from under the truck

    (Johnson Dep., p. 265:1-9)Q. You assisted EMS in extracting him from below the truck?A. Yes.Q. How did you do that?A. Well, they finally decided what they were going to do. I asked for a pair of scissors because I noticed the strings of his backpack were entangled inside the transmission or the gearshift

    *

  • Why They Worked Together that Morning?(Johnson, Dep., pp.150:13-151:1)Q. Why is it that Gary was the passenger in your vehicle that day as opposed to Kevin?A. To help navigate to the particular section we were supposed to be responsible for that day.Q. Did you understand whether Gary was familiar with the location that you were going to?A. Very familiar. He was there -- he's been at Bristol for 15 years, so I felt confident in his ability to navigate me properly.*

  • Broad OverviewWawaBath RoadRoute 413Vacant LotDirection of travel of trash truck to go to Wawa*

  • The Vacant Lot

    *

  • Police Scene Photograph*

  • Police Scene Photograph*

  • Police Scene Photograph*

  • Eli Gilberts Likely PathEli Gilberts Path from home*

  • Location of Waste Management Facility - .6 mileVacant LotWaste Management*

  • 911 DISPATCH DETAIL RECORD*

  • 911 Dispatch Report 6:33AM call placed by Erik Johnson2:49 into the call, (6:36AM) Dispatch learns that a Pedestrian was struck4:00 into the call, (6:37AM) Gilbert is not responsive to Johnsons questions4:45 into the call, (6:38AM) Johnson says Eli Gilbert was not run over by the wheels4:12 into the call, (6:38AM) EMS dispatched3:24 into the call, (6:37AM) Richmond overheard in background speaking to WM Dispatch*

  • Erik Johnsons Hand-Written Statement*I told Kevin, the person following to call a supervisor and then I called 911 @ 6:33 AM

  • Bristol Township Police Determined the Point of Impact and Point of RestBath Road78.1 ft from Left curbside corner of entrance to the vacant lot to the point of impact Area of ImpactPoint of Rest*

  • Officer Lyons Arrived at 7:04AM Took Erik Johnson for Blood Test and to Station for a Statement*

  • Erik Johnsons Hand-Written Statement*

  • Kevin Richmonds Statement to Officer Shallcross*

  • Kevin Richmonds Statement to Officer DiGregorio*

  • Gary Ausmores Statement to Officer Shallcross*

  • Officer Eklunds Conclusions from Police Accident Reconstruction Report*

  • ERIK JOHNSONS OBSERVATIONS*

  • Why was Erik Johnson Going to Wawa?(Johnson Dep., 151:14-152:1)Q. Where were you planning to go?A. Originally Dunkin' Donuts.Q. Okay.A. So we proceeded towards Dunkin' Donuts and we felt that Wawa -- we had a -- I had a change of mind and we both agreed that Wawa would be a little bit better. It's well-lit, more familiar area. I wasn't sure of where a Dunkin Donuts was. Just one I knew that was -- would eventually be on the way.*

  • What Route did Erik Johnson Take to Reach the Wawa?Q. Okay. Describe for me the route that you took to -- in the direction of the Wawa that morning?A. Well, after we had gone down North 413, I had made a U-turn in a McDonald's parking lot to safely navigate so that way it wasn't -- plus with the size and scope of the truck, there was no way I could have done it any other way.Q. Where was the McDonalds parking lot where you made the U-turn? Where was that located?A. A little bit -- I'd say a quarter mile north of the Wawa in question.Q. On Route 413?A. Yes. (Johnson Dep., 152:2-18)*

  • Why Did Erik Johnson not Park at Wawa? Q. What was your thought process with regard to parking in the Wawa parking lot?A. At first I assessed the situation of time and busyness of the Wawa parking lot. There had always been people starting to pull in and there was a lot of heavy foot traffic from people that were already parked exiting vehicles entering the store. So I figured that it was going to be -- when I couldn't make a left turn into Wawa physically, and so I decided that seeing I -- at the time semi trucks parked there, that it was an empty lot and it would be safer based on my experience and knowledge at that time to park or make a turn here where it was empty and then safely proceed if it was in my best interest, which I decided when I got into the parking lot it was becoming too crowded for a vehicle since there was already vehicles already inside the parking lot and trucks. (Johnson Dep., 158:2-24)*

  • Why did Erik Johnson Turn into the Vacant Lot?Q. When did you become aware that that parking lot existed?A. Well, I had mentioned to Gary that, you know, the Wawa is kind of busy. Is there anywhere else we can park or go to?Q. Okay.A. And he suggested this parking lot. (Johnson Dep., 161:15-23)*

  • Erik Johnsons Testimony Regarding his Speed on Bath Road (Johnson Dep., 169:23-170:5)Q. Can you give me an approximation of how fast you were going along Bath Road prior to making -- prior to beginning to make a left in the parking lot?A. 20 to 25 miles per hour, I would say.

    *

  • Erik Johnsons Testimony Regarding Where He was Looking Turning into the Lot(Johnson Dep., 173:6-175:4)Q. Where were you looking? A. Forward and through my headlights.Q. You were looking forward along your -- when you say with the headlights, what do you mean?A. The illumination of the headlights. Try to see if I can scan anything more above the headlights where the beams end.Q. Were you scanning your mirrors as you were making a left turn into the parking lot?A. No.Q. Other than looking straight ahead along the headlight beam as you were making a left turn into the parking lot, did you look in any other direction as you were making that left turn?A. No, I was just focusing on what was ahead and making the left turn.

    *

  • Johnson Was Scanning the Lot for HazardsQ. Were you scanning for obstacles anywhere other than straight ahead?A. I try -- I look -- scan from left to right.Q. How did you scan from left to right?A. Well, as a professional driver, with my experience, it's a natural habit to look from left -- your side window, try to as best you can scan as a half -- or a half-moon so to speak direction. You scan the scenario in front, sides best you can. You're using peripheral vision also. (Johnson Dep., pp. 177:21-178:11)*

  • Johnson Did Not Observe Any Hazards in the LotQ. You said that as you entered the parking lot, you were scanning for hazards. Did you observe any hazards?A. Not that I could see directly in front of me, no, or the sides.Q. At any point from the time that you entered the parking lot until you came to a rest, did you observe any hazards?A. No. Q. Did you observe any potholes? A. I felt the pothole, but I didn't see the pothole.- (Johnson Dep., pp. 181:14-182:4)*

  • Johnsons Reaction to Hitting the Pothole(Johnson Dep., 186:19-187:10)Q. So once you hit the first pothole, what did you do with regard to your speed?A. Well, I just again decelerated from what I was -- at my turn-in speed, which I don't know. I covered my brake with my foot, again due to my training and experience, slowed the truck even more and kept my foot over the brake as to anticipate or try to anticipate any other potholes or anything that may pose a possible threat.Q. And once you hit that first pothole, you decelerated?A. Even more than I did making my initial turn, correct.

    *

  • Erik Johnson was Unable to Estimate or Guess as to his Speed

    Q. As you were preparing to turn left into that adjacent parking lot, how fast were you going? A. I don't know. I don't have an approximate speed or even a guess. (Johnson Dep., 169:2-6)Q. Once you enter the parking lot, at what speed are you traveling?A. Actual, speed I can't recollect. I don't know. But I did take it very slow. I know that for a fact. (Johnson Dep., 185:12-19)Q. Can you give me an approximation of how fast you were going as you were turning into the parking lot?A. No, I can't give you an approximation. (Johnson Dep., 169:18-22)

    *

  • Erik Johnson Could Only Observe What He Could Actually SeeQ. Did you consider at the time that it was important for you to be aware of not only what was in front of you, but what was to the side of your truck?A. Yes, I don't believe that that would be appropriate in that case because of the low visibility and the darkness and especially since the only light that I had and the visibility that I did have was in front of me. So I kept my vision more in front than I did try to the sides or anything like that. Where normally, if under different circumstances and light, I could see with my peripheral vision without having to physi