Marty Norman of Grand Rapids is asking for more than $25,000 in damages from the May 8 crash.
Although the lawsuit targets the Road Commission, it specifically accuses driver Chad Horling of failure to keep his vehicle under control, “so as to avoid the collision with the plaintiff.”
The lawsuit says Norman was traveling east in the eastbound lane of Hayes Street at 10:46 a.m. that day. It says Horling was operating a county plow truck westbound in the eastbound lane and struck Norman’s vehicle, “causing a head-on collision that resulted in serious injury to the plaintiff.”
Road Commission Chairman Tom Bird said the county trucks were grading the gravel road at the time.
“The first truck loosens the gravel using a rake blade,” he explained. “The second truck spreads and levels.”
Bird declined to say anything further.
“We just don’t comment on pending litigation,” he said.
Information obtained from the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department indicated the county trucks were putting up a large cloud of dust as they went down the road, creating poor visibility for other motorists.
Sgt. Steve Austin said the trucks were maintaining the road east of 84th Avenue in Polkton Township.
“(Norman) was in the process of delivering mail and was seated on the passenger side of his vehicle,” the Sheriff's Department's crash report says. “(Norman) had just backed out of the driveway on the south side of Hayes Street after a Road Commission truck had passed. (Norman) said it was very dusty and he could not see, but he drove eastbound on Hayes Street and struck the Road Commission truck that was grading the roadway.”
The driver of the Road Commission truck did not see the car until impact, the report says. The overhead lights on the county trucks were activated at the time.
Calls to Norman’s attorney for comment were not returned prior to press time.