- Associated Press - Friday, November 13, 2015

PRINCETON, Ind. (AP) - A third lawsuit has been filed in the fatal September crash of an overloaded van on a southwestern Indiana highway.

The van loaded with 24 people was headed to a factory when it blew a tire and overturned Sept. 24 on Interstate 69 about 20 miles northeast of Evansville. Two women died. Charges filed against the driver include two counts of causing death while driving while intoxicated on a controlled substance.

Attorney Neil Chapman filed a lawsuit Thursday on behalf of Marianie Sanon, who was hurt in the crash. The lawsuit names the van’s driver, the van’s owner, the company owning the factory and a staffing company that hired the workers.

The lawsuit accuses the two companies and the van’s owner of acting in a joint venture “to recruit, hire and transport Haitian immigrants” to fill the factory owner’s “unskilled labor needs,” the Evansville Courier & Press reports.

According to the lawsuit, the van’s owner began providing transportation to the staffing company as Haitian Transportation when the company discontinued its own shuttle service due to costs. Haitian Transportation was not licensed or registered with the state, the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit alleges the factory owner and staffing company are liable for the “negligent selection and retention” of Haitian Transportation. Had they demanded proof of licenses, registration, drug screenings and other documents, the lawsuit says the crash “likely would have never occurred.”

The lawsuit seeks compensation for medical expenses, lost income and other damages. According to the lawsuit, Sanon was comatose in intensive care and spent weeks in rehab, and her arm and back are permanently disfigured.

Chapman said Sanon hasn’t received help with medical bills from the companies. The staffing company, he said, sent her a $50 Wal-Mart gift card and a food basket.

Lawsuits were filed last month on behalf of two other passengers against the van’s driver and its owner, the Princeton Daily Clarion reports.

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Information from: Princeton Daily Clarion, https://www.tristate-media.com/pdclarion

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