Family files $1.5M lawsuit over fatal crash in Belleville

News-DemocratJanuary 17, 2014 

A woman who lost her husband and son in a crash in Belleville last year filed a $1.5 million lawsuit against the driver of the other vehicle and two Belleville area liquor establishments.

Angela Hutchison and other family members filed suit last month in St. Clair County Circuit Court on behalf of the estate of Thomas Scott Hutchison and his 9-year-old son Zachary Hutchison, who both died from injuries sustained in a March 1 crash.

Adrian Reed is named as the defendant in the negligent and wrongful death part of the lawsuit. The Quail Club and Cigar Inn Jazz Club Inc. are being sued under the Dram Shop Act, which holds alcohol sellers responsible for the conduct of customers.

Reed is accused of driving his vehicle on Old St. Louis Road near the intersection with westbound Illinois 15 and striking the Hutchisons' vehicle, according to the lawsuit.

The suit alleges Reed was negligent by operating his vehicle under the influence of alcohol, failing to keep adequate control of his vehicle and striking the front of the Hutchisons' vehicle.

Reed could not be reached for comment Friday. Reed's attorney, Jeff Cain, said he could not comment on pending litigation.

The lawsuit alleges both the Quail Club and Cigar Inn sold or gave alcohol to Reed, 67, of Belleville, who became intoxicated the night of the double-fatal crash.

Doug Lobstein, house chairman of the Quail Club at 8303 Concordia Church Road near Belleville, said he had no comment regarding ongoing litigation.

A representative of the Cigar Inn at 119 W. Main St. in Belleville could not be reached for comment.

St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly said the case remains under advisement.

"A lot of work has been done, but there is some very specific scientific review, which has to be concluded before a decision can made if the evidence can prove criminal conduct or not," Kelly said.

The Hutchison family's attorney Michael Gras could not be reached for comment.

Angela Hutchison suffered a shattered ankle in the crash, and her son Jacob sustained a broken leg.

Contact reporter Jamie Forsythe at 618-239-2562 or jforsythe1@bnd.com.

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