A fatal accident is at the center of a personal injury lawsuit filed Dec. 23 against the City of Georgetown and Brandon Harris, the driver of a city-owned public works garbage truck.

The lawsuit was filed by Ora Kenneth Blankenship who was driving a garbage truck owned by Central Kentucky Landfill and Hauling. The accident occurred in September 2014 when the city’s truck’s wheels fell off the pavement and Harris overcorrected striking Blankenship’s truck. Kim Smith was following in her automobile when she was caught in the accident and was killed, police reports state.

Smith of Georgetown died as a result of the collision and    Blankenship was injured, according to the suit filed on Dec. 21.

Blankenship’s garbage truck was owned by Central Kentucky Landfill and Hauling, the owners of the Central Kentucky Landfill.

Prior to the accident and certainly following it, residents have protested and expressed concern about U.S. 25 and the increase in the number of large trucks traveling on it while servicing the landfill. Since the accident, the city has rerouted trucks to use the interstate to the Sadieville exit, but garbage trucks from other areas still use U.S. 25.

State Sen. Damon Thayer led an effort to install guardrails along portions of U.S. 25, including the area where this accident took place.

The suit alleges that the defendant, Brandon Harris, was operating a city-owned 2015 Mack LEU series truck, traveling northbound on U.S. 25, when he “lost control of the Mack truck, ran off the northbound shoulder, overcorrected and crossed into the southbound lane of traffic on U.S. 25, resulting in an offset head-on collision with (Blankenship).”

The suit further alleges that Harris “operated the Mack truck in a negligent, careless and reckless manner, causing serious injury…”

Blankenship contends that he suffered significant back, joint and neural injuries during the collision, as well as “depression…post traumatic stress disorder…great physical and mental pain and anguish, including the loss of enjoyment of life and impairment of earning capacity.”

The suit argues that the City of Georgetown is “vicariously liable” for Harris’s alleged negligence.

“The City of Georgetown had a duty to act responsibly in hiring, instructing, training, supervising and retaining its drivers and other employees and agents, including Defendant Brandon Harris, and to promulgate and enforce policies, procedures and rules to ensure that its drivers and vehicles were reasonably safe,” the suit states.

“The City of Georgetown had a duty to exercise reasonable care in entrusting its vehicles and equipment to responsible, competent and qualified drivers,” the suit further states.

In failing to ensure proper training, the suit argues, the City of Georgetown “…violated state and federal statutes and regulations…for which it is directly liable.”

Blankenship demands “actual, special, punitive and compensatory damages…in an amount greater than the jurisdictional minimum…,” as well as compensation for court costs and “…any and all other relief to which the Plaintiff (Blankenship) is entitled.”

Blankenship has requested the trial be held before a jury.

Paul Watson can be reached at pwatson@news-graphic.com.

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