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Trucking firm settles lawsuit for $7.6 million

A Cheney trucking company will pay $7.6 million to settle a lawsuit filed after a 2001 accident that killed a 6-year-old Illinois boy and severed his father’s leg.

The settlement, announced last week by attorneys involved in the federal lawsuit, will have no effect on Cheney-based System Transport Services, said company personnel director Jeff Benesch.

System Transport Services is one of three defendants that will pay shares of that settlement, Benesch said. The others are Redmond, Wash.-based Genie Industries; and Market Transport Ltd., of Portland.

“System Transport’s share of the settlement will be paid mostly from insurance proceeds,” said Benesch in a written statement.

The balance, he added, will come from money System Transport has already set aside for the settlement, Benesch said.

System Transport has operated as a long-haul trucking company since 1979.

The accident occurred in September 2001 when Mary Pierce and her husband, Allan J. Pierce, stopped to fix a flat tire on their car.

They parked on a highway shoulder and left their son strapped to a car seat, according to court records.

A flatbed truck operated by System Transport lost control in a construction zone near the Pierces’ vehicle and rolled over. Two cherry-picker lifts that weighed 44,000 pounds came off the truck and severed the father’s leg, then ignited a fire in the car that killed the son, Allen M. Pierce.

The parents sued System Transport as well as Genie, the maker of the lifts, and Market Transport, which arranged for the lifts to be hauled from Moses Lake to a destination on the East Coast.

Without admitting liability, System Transport agreed to settle the claim to end the litigation.

Genie and Market Transport will each pay $4 million in the settlement with the Pierce family.

The boy’s father died in 2004. His wife, 42-year-old Mary Pierce, will receive half of the total $15.6 million payments, while the other half will be paid to an Illinois bank that is the administrator of her husband’s estate, according to court documents.


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