The family of a construction worker, who was killed in a chain reaction crash, has filed a lawsuit against the two individuals convicted in a criminal court of causing the death. The wrongful death lawsuit, filed in Roanoke County Circuit Court, contends that Tracie Dowell Nininger and Jeffrey Scott Dupree were solely responsible for the death of Richard Slone. During the criminal trial in October, lawyers for the pair argued that the victim’s employer, Draper Paving Co., contributed to the crash by failing to comply with proper safety procedures at the site where the man was working. Both of the former real estate agents were found guilty of aggravated involuntary manslaughter and driving under the influence in the fatal wreck. Each was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison.

The wreck occurred just after midnight on a public highway where construction work was underway. A Draper supervisor was using a tractor in the blocked-off right lane to fill a ditch with asphalt with the left lane left open to traffic. Because the tractor sometimes had to back into the left lane, a flagman was assigned to periodically stop traffic. According to testimony, on the night of the death, Nininger’s Hummer H3 drove past the flagman and struck a blade mounted on the rear of the tractor. Dupree’s Chevrolet Avalanche almost simultaneously struck the rear of the Hummer. The blade and the Hummer then crashed into a nearby dump truck, hitting the victim and cutting him nearly in half. Nininger and Dupree had been together at a local bar and grill in downtown Roanoke about half an hour before the crash. Nininger had a blood-alcohol content of 0.19%. Dupree refused to take a breath test but failed a field sobriety check. The civil lawsuit seeks both compensatory and punitive damages on behalf of the victim’s 17-year-old daughter and 16-year-old son.

Source: The Roanoke Times

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