Metro-East News

Widower files wrongful-death suit over Mascoutah crash

Althoff Catholic High School students dressed as Frozen characters and visited Melody Wells while she was recovering in the hospital. Melody is the daughter of Robin Wells, who was killed in a car crash in Mascoutah in November 2014. Melody was a passenger in the car and was seriously injured.
Althoff Catholic High School students dressed as Frozen characters and visited Melody Wells while she was recovering in the hospital. Melody is the daughter of Robin Wells, who was killed in a car crash in Mascoutah in November 2014. Melody was a passenger in the car and was seriously injured. Provided photo

A widower has filed a lawsuit against the driver of a truck that crashed into his wife’s vehicle, causing serious injuries that resulted in her death.

On behalf of their children and the estate of Robin Wells, Paul Wells of Mascoutah has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the driver of the truck that crashed into Robin Well’s vehicle — Don L. Mueller and his company, Don Mueller Construction.

David Cates of Cates Mahoney LLC. in Swansea is representing Paul Wells in the suit filed late last month in St. Clair County Court. Cates declined to comment on the suit.

An attorney for Mueller isn’t listed in court records. A representative of Mueller, who only identified herself as Sharon, reached at his construction company in Lebanon declined to comment.

Robin Wells and her daughter Melody were driving northbound on Illinois 4 in Mascoutah in a 2013 Kia Optima on Nov. 5, 2014, and Mueller was driving a 2002 Ford F-150 truck southbound on Route 4. Mueller crossed the center line and struck Robin Wells’ vehicle, according to the accident crash report.

According to a narrative description of the accident scene prepared by Mascoutah Officer Kyle Donovan, Mueller admitted he might have fallen asleep. When Donovan asked what happened, Mueller said, according to the report, “It was my fault; I must have dozed off. How are they doing?” The officer informed Mueller he wasn’t sure how the occupants of the other car were doing. “I hope they are OK; I feel terrible,” Mueller stated, according to the report.

Mueller was never charged with any crime related to the crash. He received a traffic citation for driving in the wrong lane, the report states.

According to the suit, Don Mueller failed to:

▪  Drive on the right side of the roadway.

▪  To keep his vehicle within the designated lane of travel.

▪  Concentrate on driving, appreciate the presence of other vehicles on the road and keep a proper lookout for other vehicles.

▪  To reduce his speed as necessary to avoid an accident.

▪  To stay awake while driving.

The lawsuit also claims Mueller “carelessly operated his vehicle at a speed which was greater than reasonable and proper with regard to traffic conditions.”

“As a direct and proximate result of one or more of the foregoing negligent acts or omissions ... defendant Mueller collided head-on with the 2013 Kia Optima driven by Robin Wells in which Melody M.L. Wells was a passenger,” the suit states.

Melody Wells suffered injuries to her head, neck, chest, abdomen and legs, according to the lawsuit, and “continues to suffer tremendous pain, suffering and disfigurement.”

Mueller, who was flown to Saint Louis University Hospital in St. Louis, suffered seven broken ribs and a fractured hip in the crash, according to the accident report.

Contact reporter Jamie Forsythe at jforsythe1@bnd.com or 618-239-2562. Follow her on Twitter: @BND_JForsythe.

  Comments