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Civil trial underway in fatal Thanksgiving Day accident - 12 News KBMT and K-JAC. News, Weather and Sports for SE Texas

Civil trial underway in fatal Thanksgiving Day accident

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A driver's speed and driving history are at the center of the first day of testimony in a civil trial stemming from last year's fatal Thanksgiving Day pile-up. A total of 53 people were injured in the November 22, 2012 100-vehicle pile-up.

A couple from Pearland, Vincent and Debra Leggio , were killed in the accident.  The Leggio's three children are suing the truck driver, Richardo Fernando Kerr, and the trucking company, C. R. England.

The Leggio family's attorney said in opening arguments that C. R. England limits the speeds of its trucks to 72 miles an hour, the exact speed their truck was going when it collided into the Leggios suburban and killed them.

The speed limit in the area is 75 miles an hour, but authorities say fog created an environment for the pile-up. Plaintiff attorney Paul F. Ferguson, Jr. said fog was only a small part of it.

"Fog was an act of nature, what happened to the Leggios was an act of man... it was a disregard for the safety of the public," Ferguson said.

The plaintiffs also pointed to Kerr's previous driving record citing an accident he was involved in that killed two Florida teenagers back in 2007.

But, attorneys for the driver and trucking company discredited that accident in Florida, stating the driver was in his personal vehicle and was not found responsible in court.

The defendants also pointed out that the Leggios vehicle collided with another shortly before it was struck by the 18-wheeler.

The Jefferson County grand jury cleared Kerr of criminally negligent homicide in the accident.

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