Lawsuit alleges faulty brakes led to wreck fatality

Published 2:51 pm Monday, November 7, 2016

NORTH SHELBY – The husband of a woman killed in a wreck in October 2015 on U.S. 280 has sued the manufacturer of a braking component that allegedly failed in the tractor-trailer, causing it to strike the woman’s vehicle.

The suit filed on Oct. 28 by Nathan Matson, both as the father of a child who was also in the vehicle at the time of the wreck and as administrator of the estate of Jordan Alexa Mays, seeks “compensatory and/or punitive damages” from Michigan-based Meritor Wabco Vehicle Control Systems.

Mays Matson, 25, was killed when the 2008 Honda CR-V she was driving collided with a 2000 International tractor-trailer the morning of Oct. 20 near the intersection of U.S. 280 and Shelby County 280.

Shelby County Sheriff’s Office deputies and officers from the multi-jurisdictional traffic homicide unit reported to the scene of the accident.

Mays Matson was pronounced dead at the scene. The Honda CR-V was also carrying an infant, who was injured and transported to Children’s Hospital in Birmingham for treatment.

The driver of the tractor-trailer, Chassidy Renae Garner-James, also sustained injuries from the collision and was transported to Grandview Medical Center.

Garner-James has since been indicted on a charge of criminally negligent homicide for allegedly knowingly operating the vehicle with a defective brake system.

Josh J. Wright, an attorney representing Nathan Matson in the suit that was filed in Shelby County Circuit Court, said the suit alleges an improper design caused the tractor-trailer’s modulator valve to fail to engage service brakes when commanded by the driver, preventing the vehicle from stopping and leading to the collision with the vehicle operated by Mays Matson.

“As we do with all cases, we investigate all potential theories. We leave no stones unturned,” Wright said in a release. “With this case, after some forensic testing and good engineering work, we found an extra claim under one of those stones.

“Ms. Matson, Mr. Matson and their son deserved that from our law firm. Our plan from here is to bring the responsible parties to justice.”

Representatives of Meritor Wabco could not be reached for comment.