Driver and quarry sued in dump truck death

(Cahokia, Illinois)  —  The grandmother of a 13-year-old boy crushed by an overloaded dump truck filed a wrongful death lawsuit Wednesday against the driver, his employer and the quarry that filled the truck with gravel.

Ryan Hennemann, of Cahokia, died April 25 when a dump truck bed loaded with more than 33,000 pounds of gravel tipped over onto him, crushing him.

“This is a tragic case,” said Tom Keefe, the Swansea lawyer who filed the lawsuit on behalf of Ryan’s mother, Kathryn Lowe. “From all accounts of those who loved him best, he sounds like a fine, fine young man.”

Falling Springs Quarry Co. loaded a truck owned by J & C Construction Co. driven by James T. Griffin with 33,180 pounds of rock, the complaint alleged. When Griffin returned to the quarry, told them his truck was overloaded and requested removal of part of the load, the quarry personnel refused, the complaint stated.

“The answer to that is in the police report,” said John Cramer, president of Falling Springs Quarry Co., who declined further comment.

Griffin then left the quarry, stopping Ryan and his friend Benjamin Currens, 15, as they rode their bikes at the intersection of Stolle Lane and Triple Lakes Road, according to the complaint. Griffin offered them $5 each to help him unload the truck.

While Griffin was under the truck, it started to dump its load, and the entire dump bed of the truck tipped onto Ryan, who was standing beside it.

Keefe’s complaint further alleges Griffin’s employer, J & C Construction, carelessly entrusted a truck to a driver they knew was “incompetent and unlicensed” and furnished a truck not suitable for hauling rock.

Neither Griffin nor a representative for J & C Construction could be reached for comment.

No criminal charges have been filed in Ryan’s death.

The suit seeks more than $75,000 in damages.



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