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Family Files $75M Suit in Texas Wreck

September 24, 2004

DALLAS (AP) _ The family of one of 10 people killed when a tractor-trailer veered across a median into oncoming traffic is suing the trucker and owners of the rig for $75 million.

The wrongful death lawsuit was filed on behalf of relatives of Manuel Esparza and also accuses Esparza’s employer of making seven workers travel in a pickup truck that couldn’t accommodate that many safely.

On Monday, an 18-wheeler driven by Miroslaw Jozwiak crossed a median on U.S. Highway 75 about 60 miles north of Dallas and plowed into a sport utility vehicle and the pickup Esparza was driving.

Four family members riding with Esparza in the truck were killed and two adults were injured. The victims in the SUV included a mother, her three young children and their grandmother. The SUV was burned beyond recognition.

Jozwiak, a 45-year-old Polish national from Daytona Beach, Fla., is charged with 10 counts of criminally negligent homicide. His attorney did not immediately return a call from The Associated Press on Friday.

The lawsuit alleges the driver was speeding and his health should have disqualified him for a commercial driver’s license. The lawsuit did not specify a health condition.

The suit also accuses the tractor and trailer owners, KV Trucking Inc., KV Express and Eagle Express Lines Inc., of not keeping the rig in a safe condition.

Todd Pals, an owner of Eagle Express in South Holland, Ill., said the company did nothing wrong. A message left for Crown Point, Ind.-based KV Trucking was not immediately returned Friday. Numbers for KV Express and its registered agent in Willow Springs, Ill., were not listed.

The lawsuit also accuses Esparza’s employer, STA-DRI Company Inc., of making seven employees travel in a pickup truck that couldn’t accommodate that many safely. No one answered the phone at the company’s Dallas office.

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