Jersey County Illinois Jury Renders Wrongful Death Verdict

A Jersey County Illinois jury has awarded more than a half-million dollars to the family of a woman killed in a 2007 drunken driving incident. The jury returned the $549,954.11 verdict after a two-day civil trial on November 18, 2009, in Jersey County Circuit Court, with Judge Eric Pistorius presiding.

Jerica Klocke, 19, of Batchtown, died following a motorcycle accident in 2007. She had been a passenger on a motorcycle driven by Donald Adcock, 24, of Carrollton, who was pronounced dead at the scene by Jersey County Coroner Larry Alexander. Klocke was flown from the scene to St. John’s Hospital in Springfield, where she died at 2:56 p.m. the same day.

A summary read to the jury by Circuit Court Judge Pistorious stated that the plaintiffs, the family of Jerica Klocke, brought the claim pursuant to the Dramshop Act. The plaintiff claimed that Adcock consumed alcohol at both Thirsty’s Tavern and at Bawana’s Nutwood Tavern and became intoxicated as a result of the alcohol he consumed and that his intoxication was one of the causes of Klocke’s death. The defendants had denied liability in Klocke’s death.

At the time of the accident, Thirsty’s Tavern Inc. was owned by Donald Adcock and his father, Roger. Bawana’s Nutwood Tavern, was owned by Stephen Wilson. (Wilson was named individually in the suit, but Roger Adcock was not).

According to Klocke family attorney Mike Glisson, of Williamson, Webster, Falb & Glisson, of Alton, Klocke’s grandmother had died the Friday evening before the motorcycle wreck. Jerica Klocke went to be with a girlfriend. The girlfriend arranged for Jerica to ride on a motorcycle driven by Adcock, who did not appear to be intoxicated, according to several witnesses, but whose toxicological report revealed he had a blood alcohol level of 0.15 percent at the time of his death. The legal limit in Illinois is 0.08. Jerica Klocke’s toxicological report revealed no alcohol.

Testimony revealed that Adcock lost control of his motorcycle, leaving a skid mark of 177 feet as he approached the intersection of Reddish Road and Dunham Road.

Forensic toxicologist Dr. Chris Long, of Saint Louis University, testified that while witnesses testified that Adcock did not appear impaired he would have to have been. The 0.15 level would have impaired his depth perception, balance on the motorcycle and reasoning, he said.

After deliberating for three hours, the jury returned a verdict Wednesday, ruling in favor of the plaintiffs and against Thirsty’s Tavern, but not Bawana’s, apparently determining that the intoxication had taken place at Thirsty’s.

The jury awarded $500,000 in loss of relationship and $49,954.11 for medical and funeral bills, the exact amount requested by Plaintiffs in closing arguments by family attorney Mike Glisson. The verdict is one of the biggest verdicts recorded in Jersey County.

Mike Glisson and the law firm of WWF&G represent numerous families that are victims of alcohol related accidents. This case was filed immediately and prosecuted to the extent provided by law, which needs to be done with dramshop cases, and all wrongful death cases. If you or a friend or family member has been injured in an alcohol related claim, please contact WWF&G for a free consultation at 1-800-WWFGLAW or 618-462-1077. All partners are licensed in Illinois and Missouri.