Pedestrian at Wisconsin auto auction recovers after being crushed between
two SUVs. Badger State Auto Auction and its insurer, West Bend Insurance,
agreed to pay $5.0 million to a Chicago man who suffered an above-the-knee
amputation in August, 2011 after being crushed between the bumpers of two SUVs.
The victim, a 41 year old Chicago resident and tradesman, was attending
an auto auction at the Badger State Auto Auction facility in Fond du Lac,
Wisconsin on August 25, 2011. While walking among cars lining up to enter
the auction building, a practice allowed by Badger State so customers
could get a closer look at vehicles, he was crushed between the bumpers
of two SUVs. Francis Yeager, an auto auction employee stated that the
2004 Ford Explorer he was driving "just took off like a bat out of
hell" according to Romero's lawyer, James J. Morici, Jr., a partner
at Morici, Figlioli & Associates.
Morici, who is also licensed in Wisconsin, stated that Romero suffered
near-fatal injuries and fractures to each leg with his right leg being
unsalvageable and succumbing to an above-the-knee amputation during his
hospitalization at the Theda Clarke Medical Center to which he was airlifted
in Neenah, Wisconsin. His recovery continued with multiple surgeries at
Northwestern Memorial Hospital and an extensive period of inpatient and
outpatient physical therapy at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.
Romero continues to suffer extreme pain and mental anguish as a result
of his many fractures, multiple surgeries and difficulty in being fitted
with a properly fitting prosthesis to his right lower extremity, his lawyer said.
The suit alleged that Badger State Auto Auction failed to properly enforce
safe crowd control procedures by allowing its customers to comingle with
moving vehicles. The Thursday afternoon auction commonly attended by over
400 buyers usually sells 1,000 to 1,200 vehicles per week, Morici said.
"The entire layout of the auction traffic flow pattern and lack of
crowd control was an accident waiting to happen and Yeager, a 75 year
old, part-time worker who had only been employed by Badger State for six
weeks prior to the incident, mistakenly hit the gas instead of the brake."