Corp of Engineers sued after car careens off of Bonnet Carre

Michelle Keahey Feb. 16, 2012, 2:15am

NEW ORLEANS - The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers is being sued for failing to maintain the Bonnet Carre Spillway after a car careened off a cliff into a drainage canal adjacent to the road.

Dustin Michael Schexnayder Sr. and Marilyn Faucheaux Tarto, individually and as duly appointed curator of Dustin Michael Schexnayder Sr. filed suit against St. Charles Parish, Vernon Joseph St. Pierre Jr. president of St. Charles Parish, The St. Charles Parish Council, State of Louisiana and United States Army Corp of Engineers on Feb. 14 in federal court in New Orleans.

The alleged incident occurred on Feb. 14, 2011 as Dustin Schexnayder was traveling west on the river road through the Bonnet Carre Spillway. According to the lawsuit, the roadway was not protected by guard rails.

Schexnayder sustained a severe head trauma as well as other injuries, the suit claims.

The defendants are accused of negligence for failing to maintain a proper road, failing to keep and improve the road properly, failing to have safety protection at dangerous drop offs along the road, failing to maintain the road to the proper width, failing to place guard rails over drainage ditches, failing to properly mark the river road, and for failing to properly supervise and police the river road.

"Defendants knew or should have known of the deplorable condition of the River Road in the Bonnet Carre Spillway and negligently created a dangerous road environment for all drivers due to blatant neglect of duty and lack of supervision of the road area," the lawsuit states.

Schexnayder is asking the court for an award of damages for severe head trauma, debilitating head injury, conscious pain and suffering, deterioration of physical integrity, permanent disability, severe emotional distress, physical impairment, medical expenses, loss of wages, earnings and earning potential, and loss of employability.

Tarto is asking the court for an award of damages for loss of consortium, loss of love and affection from her son, lost money and resources, court costs and interest.

The plaintiffs are represented by Gonzales attorney Jean-Paul Robert.

U.S. District Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:12-cv-00416

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