A hit-and-run crash that killed a good Samaritan, a pregnant woman and her unborn child has drawn a second wrongful death lawsuit — this one to the tune of $ 20 million.
Attorney Gary Dawson on Thursday filed in Knox County Circuit Court a lawsuit on behalf of Stephanie Thornell, whose daughter and unborn grandchild were killed in the May 30 hit-and-run on Washington Pike, against a slew of people, including the alleged hit-and-run driver, his parents, a local bar and a woman whose call for help initiated the fatal encounter.
Curtis Scott Harper, 22, of Franklin, Tenn., is charged with vehicular homicide and related counts in connection with the deaths of Chasity Elaine Thornell, 24, her unborn daughter and good Samaritan Nelzon A. Soto, 45.
Authorities allege Harper was drunk behind the wheel of a 2004 Ford Explorer owned by his parents, Herb and Pam Harper, when he plowed into Soto and Chasity Thornell as they stood on the side of the roadway and kept going.
Soto’s widow filed via defense attorney Gregory P. Isaacs a $ 10 million wrongful death lawsuit in July.
In the most recent lawsuit, Dawson contends that despite Harper’s history of a prior drunken driving conviction and drug use, his parents bought the Explorer for him and allowed him to drive it.
“Plaintiff avers (the Harpers) knew and were fully aware of their son’s drug and alcohol problems but voluntarily chose to provide him with an automobile for his use,” Dawson wrote.
The lawsuit also blames The Hill, a bar in Fort Sanders, alleging employees served Harper booze even though he was clearly intoxicated. The bar’s owner has denied the allegations.
In a surprise move, Dawson [...]