NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH) — It was on the morning of December 12, 2011 that Barry Graham drove onto the Gold Star Memorial bridge. He says he didn’t see any other accidents and he didn’t see any warnings when he hit black ice.
“Suit was filed in this case in 2012,” says his attorney Ralph J. Monaco.
After filing that suit Monaco discovered that there were five accidents within the hour before his client’s truck flipped onto its side causing him to suffer severe back injury and pain.
“He’s had to have nerves burned in his back in order to deaden them,” says Monaco.
He says after the first accident state police told the Department of Transportation the bridge was slippery. Fifty minutes later at 6:38 a.m. his client, a carpenter who was on his way home to Massachusetts, lost control of his truck near the town line and only after that did the DOT crew arrive.
“They should be able to react to a critical situation in less than an hour,” says Monaco.
A lower court ruled an hour is reasonable but an appellate court overturned the ruling opening this case up to a jury trial.
“Where are we going with this?” asks Fred Muscatella of New London who doesn’t think the state is at fault. “No. It happens.”
“One of the arguments the state made is that they can’t open the garage until this person drives from Madison to Waterford which takes about thirty minutes,” says Monaco.
“Did he again make a concerted effort to try to get here?” asks Rev. Jack Madry of New London.
Graham is suing under the defective highway act and must prove the state is solely at fault and that he is not at fault at all. The state could not comment on the pending litigation.
“I think that is difficult,” says Julie Koslowski of Groton. “It could go either way.
Attorney Monaco expects that a jury will hear this case in the next six months to a year.