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Reddick Moss News - 10/15/2010

Jury awards $10.3 to tractor-trailer crash victims in Arkansas, Prairie County Circuit Court, southern district, first division. Reporting Attorney Brian Reddick of the Reddick Law Firm, P.A. represented the Rogers family. Five of the companies settled before the trial for a total of $20.5 million. U.S. Xpress, Inc. denied liability and the case went to trial on Sept. 23, 2010.

Mark Rogers and his family were traveling through Arkansas while on vacation when their car was corralled by several tractor-trailers near mile marker 203 outside Biscoe. One of the rigs ignited, and the fire spread, setting Rogers’ car on fire. Mr. Roger’s door was the only door that would open, so the 34 year old escaped through the fire. He went to the median, rolled himself out in the grass and made the split decision to save his family and ran back into the fire kicked in the windshield to rescue his wife, daughter and son. The Iraq war veteran was severely burned while rescuing his family after the devastating collision on I-40 on July 22, 2008.

In total, six tractor-trailers were involved in the catastrophic accident that left three of the four Rogers family members severely burned.

Plantiffs’ attorneys argued that U.S. Express Inc. driver Charles Daniels, the driver of the U.S. Xpress, Inc. tractor trailer, was following too closely that day and rear-ended a tractor-trailer owned by Triad Transport Inc., causing it to trap the Rogers family in their burning Pontiac.  Daniels failed to maintain appropriate speed and distance, and violated other safety regulations, according to the lawsuit.  

In closing arguments, Brain Reddick told the jury, “It’s not every day that a person is confronted with having to make a life and death decision on whether to save the lives of their family. Mark Rogers, without hesitation, made that choice on three separate occasions when he jumped into the raging fire that day to save each of his three family members who were trapped in the burning wreckage.”

It took a Prairie County jury only two hours to deliberate.

At the time of the accident, Mark Rogers was a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserves. He had recently returned from his second tour in Iraq, where he served as a combat engineer. In an ironic twist of fate, Staff Sgt. Rogers was a K-9 handler who searched for explosives in Iraq with the goal of maintaining safe highways.