Almost four years after 36-year-old Stacey Rique was killed when a crane collided with her car after breaking a red light, her family is now suing its owner, its insurance company and the State.
In a lawsuit filed in the Port-of-Spain High Court yesterday, lawyers representing Rique’s mother Majorie claimed that Sammy’s Multilift Services Limited, Sagicor General Insurance and the police were all negligent in the June 25, 2014 accident.
Rique was the daughter of Roy Rique, a former director of operations and communications at the Office of the Prime Minister.
Through the lawsuit, Rique’s relatives are seeking over $10 million in compensation, which represents the loss of earnings she would have received during her estimated natural lifetime.
At the time of her death, Rique was an administrative assistant with International Waterfront Resources Limited, which owns the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Port-of-Spain.
However, months before the accident she attained a degree in human resource management. Her relatives’ claim this would have made her eligible for a post as a human resource manager with an annual salary of over $400,000.
“The deceased had very good prospects of career advancement and development with the potential to steadily increase her income, had future career plans to open her own human resource management business and would have been a beneficiary of additional income from her own business had she survived,” attorney Andre Le Blanc said in the letter.
Rique’s friend Ashelle Waddell, who was the front seat passenger in her vehicle, suffered serious injuries in the accident but survived.
Waddell was also named as a claimant in the lawsuit but is seeking significantly less compensation than Rique’s family, as hers will only reflect the pain and suffering she experienced from the accident.
According to the court documents, Rique and Waddell were about to cross from south to north at the intersection of the Audrey Jeffers Highway, near the Hasley Crawford Stadium, when the crane collided with her vehicle.
Their lawyers are contending that although she had a green light Rique waited at the insection as she saw a police car, with its siren on, speeding towards the intersection. A few moments after the police car passed, Rique drove on and the crane collided with her vehicle.
Her relatives’ lawyers are claiming the crane’s owner is liable for negligence as its driver, Rodney Bissoondath, was reckless by driving at a fast rate and for failing to observe that the police escort did not stop at the intersection to block traffic. They are also contending that the crane was not approved by the Licensing Authority to be driven on the road.
The Office of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs was listed as a party to the claim to defend the police officers who were responsible for the escort.
Rique’s lawyers are claiming the police were negligent in failing to stop traffic at the intersection and allowing the crane operator to break the red light.
“The claimants will rely on a series of photographs of the accident as evidence of the negligence of the crane driver. The claimants will also rely on video footage and pictures taken on the date of the accident at the trial of this matter as evidence of the negligence of the company and the police,” Le Blanc said. Sagicor General was included as it had insured the crane.
A case management hearing will be set once the lawsuit is assigned to a judge.
Rique’s family and Waddell are also being represented by Terrence Bharath.