Ten months after Boston University graduate student Christopher Weigl died when an 18-wheel truck struck him on his bicycle on Commonwealth Avenue, his father Andrew Weigl is suing the truck company and the driver involved, according to a complaint filed Friday.
Andrew is suing the driver, John Brothers, and the truck company, Ross Express, on the basis of Brothers’s negligence while driving a tractor-trailer in a heavily traveled bicycle area, according to the complaint. Brothers was allegedly making a right turn from the left lane of Commonwealth Avenue when he struck Weigl.
Valerie Yarashus, the Weigl family attorney, said in an interview that this case is important so the public could focus more attention on the hazards of careless driving in heavily populated pedestrian and bicycle areas.
“These are very dangerous maneuvers to make in heavily traveled pedestrian and bicycle areas, and truck drivers should not be doing what he [Brothers] was trying to do at the time of this accident,” she said. “It’s just a set up for disaster. We are doing everything we can to help promote awareness of this issue to try and prevent it again in the future.”
Weigl was riding his bicycle in the bike lane on Commonwealth Avenue at the corner of St. Paul Street on Dec. 6 when he was struck and killed by the truck as Brothers was making a right turn onto St. Paul Street from the left lane, according to the complaint filed by the family.
“Plaintiff’s [Andrew Weigl] descendent [Christopher Weigl] was struck due to the defendants’ negligence and/or gross negligence, and as a result Plaintiff’s descendent died and left surviving next of kin,” the complaint stated. “Plaintiffs seek all recoverable damages for wrongful death and personal injury.”
Ross Express is responsible for hiring, training and supervising all of its employees, and since Brothers was an employee of Ross Express at the time of the incident, the truck company is liable for his actions, according to the complaint.
“The defendant knew, or should have known, that the unsafe operation of a tractor-trailer truck in such a busy area presented an unreasonable hazard to members of the public such as bicyclists, pedestrians, and/or motorists on Commonwealth Avenue, such as the plaintiff’s descendent, Christopher J. Weigl,” the complaint stated.
Weigl’s family said in a Friday statement that they believe Ross Express is responsible for the death of their son and this incident could have been avoided if the truck company was more diligent in training its employees.
“After looking into this tragedy with the help of our attorneys, we believe that the primary responsibility for this collision lies with the truck driver and trucking company,” the family statement read. “We hope that by bringing this suit, we can bring this dangerous practice by truck drivers under scrutiny.”
With only two months left to go before the first anniversary of Weigl’s death, COM officials launched a memorial in a second-floor hallway of 640 Commonwealth Ave. Because Weigl was an accomplished photographer and enrolled in a graduate photojournalism program, several of his photos are now framed in the hallway.