SL sued for crash

A Spring Lake woman has filed a lawsuit for the injuries she says she suffered in a crash with a police car at a village intersection last year.
Becky Vargo
Mar 5, 2014

 

The lawsuit filed on behalf of Kara Hamm targets the driver of the police cruiser, Sgt. Curt Theune of the Spring Lake/Ferrysburg Police Department, and the Village of Spring Lake. It asks for more than $25,000 in damages.

Read the lawsuit document: Download the "Related File" PDF below this story.

Theune declined to comment Tuesday, and referred all questions to Village Manager Chris Burns.

“The village has submitted the documents to our insurance carrier and adjuster, who will assign an attorney to defend Sgt. Theune and the village against the lawsuit,” Burns said.

Although Hamm sought her own treatment after the crash and was not taken to the hospital by ambulance, the lawsuit claims she suffered “severe and debilitating injuries.” The lawsuit claims her injuries included a “traumatic brain injury/post-concussion syndrome/closed head injury,” as well as “other injuries to her head, torso and extremities.”

Hamm’s attorney, Randy Allaben, said his client continues to seek treatment “primarily for memory and concentration.” The attorney said that, in cases like his client’s, an injury might not show up on a scan, but symptoms become apparent when someone tries to go back to work and family members notice a change in their behavior or temperament.

Allaben said the children in the van that Hamm was driving did not suffer injuries with any long-term effects, but the boy received burns from battery acid from the police car.

The incident occurred when Theune was responding to another crash shortly after 4 p.m. May 7 and his police cruiser struck Hamm’s van.

Theune was driving west on Savidge Street in Spring Lake with the vehicle’s lights and siren activated. Witnesses said he slowed when approaching the Lake Avenue intersection, but was unable to avoid Hamm’s minivan, which was northbound on Lake Avenue with a green light.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

 

Comments

Barry Soetoro

I hate those injuries that don't show up on a scan but become apparent after a lawyer contacts you.

ghresident

Wait a minute? Isn't she the one who failed to yield because she didn't hear the siren?

cvocvo

The comments here lead me to believe that people are not familiar with the location. There would be no reasonable way for someone in the position of the woman's car to see the lights of the police car when proceeding through a green light at the posted speed.

It really is a hard situation because I want to do and say everything I can to support law enforcement.

On the other hand, this corner presents a very troublesome situation for the woman driver. If the village is not held to some degree of responsibility, then the only way to deal with that intersection would be an "always stop" on Lake Avenue. There is no way to see right on to Savidge before you are into the intersection when traveling north on Lake.

I know that lawsuits are not attractive and we have a society full of suit happy people. On the other hand, it would be worthwhile for people to actually check out the intersection before commenting. I know this particular comment (from @ghresident) does not seem too problematic,but there is obviously a lack of understanding based on most of the comments against the woman featured in this article.

coonan222

She claims "severe and debilitating injuries", yet she wasn't taken to the hospital by ambulance and she was able to seek treatment on her own??? Doesn't compute, except in greedy lawyer language.

theQuin

Agreed, coonan222. I am really sure that someone with "traumatic brain injury" could have driven themselves to get medical help! Not!

sirhansalot

Here you go Dr.Quin...It appears you know nothing about head injury’s case in point... Natasha Richardson ultimately-deadly fall at a Canadian ski resort – and critical lapses in her care that may have contributed to her death.
Richardson, 45, was on vacation with one of her young sons at Quebec's Mont Tremblant resort March 16 when she fell on a beginner's slope known as Nansen, a run popular for its gentle slopes and forgiving turns. Although her fall may have first appeared minor – she reportedly refused to be taken to hospital at least twice – the head injury she suffered is a type that, if tended to quickly at a qualified trauma center, can often treated successfully – and can just as easily turn fatal if not treated in time. Not all brain injuries appear at first.

1stWorldProblems

Here is the link to the original article, for those interested.
http://www.grandhaventribune.com...

Greed (Latin, avaritia), also known as avarice, cupidity or covetousness, is the inordinate desire to possess wealth, goods, or objects of abstract value with the intention to keep it for one's self, far beyond the dictates of basic survival and comfort. It is applied to a markedly high desire for and pursuit of wealth, status, and power.

LIAMD

The smile says it all !

Zegota

Here is another great example of our growing self entltlement society, why work for a living when you can get it free. Just cannot understand why we just can't accept being responsible for our own actions today. Are we that so lost as a country, but I guess, so go our leader, so go the nation...down the drain.

Admin14

The Michigan Vehicle Code states that emergency vehicles must yield to vehicles at an intersection even if their siren is activated. The van had the green light, and right of way. Emergency vehicles MUST STILL YIELD even if they have their siren activated. Clearly Theune violated this law and was careless in this crash. That is why he was found at fault on the accident report.

Admin14

The Tribune should find out what disciplinary action was taken against Theune for violating state law and department policy. Why hasn't the Tribune asked these important questions?

EINSTEIN

Ridiculous....shame on her and her lawyer....treatment for memory and concentration? What a joke! Where does one receive such treatment and how much does it cost? $25,000? Sheeeeeeeeit!!!

winggirl

Isn't that what Michigan's ridiculous auto insurance rates are for - to cover unlimited medical expenses?

Harry Kovaire

Doesn't she have auto insurance with the ridiculously generous medical provisions required here in Michigan?

Golddigger and an ambulance chaser.

Admin14

Anyone who makes comments about the victim's medical condition obviously does not know the facts. If you were injured you would want to seek justice also. Ignorance of the facts and assuming you know everything about her injuries committed by a careless act is just wrong. That's why we have courts.

Whowantstoknow

She's fine!!! Oh wait, maybe you're onto something...when I was a kid I fell off my bike a couple times. And now I get headaches every now and then. I'm sure those headaches have nothing to do with loud noises, stress or anything like that, it's from falling off my bike when I was a kid. I should sue my bike helmet manufacturer!!!! After decades my bike accidents have finally caught up to me.

Admin14

Let's see Theune's personnel record file published in the Tribune just like the police chief's. At least the Chief never injured anyone. Time for the Tribune to file a Freedom of Information Request for Theune's file.

TooMuch

Do you think it is riddled with emails from the Village Manager telling him how to do his job, pay taxes even the IRS doesn't require it, etc. I hope he didn't have any personal court documents for her to look up and I pray he never used a personal check for anything or he might find himself in the same boat as the former chief. Why not FOIA the former Clerks file too? Village Manager asked for her "retirement" didn't she? A lot of former here. Anyone else? Set right up and be counted!

River Man

Do you think saying bad things about her in on a post will increase or decrease here settlement?

While I try hard to respect Police, Fire and EMT heading to help someone it is easy to imaging this happening to anyone.

I hope that Kara heals quickly and fully.

theQuin

If I were her lawyer, I would be careful about opening the issue of concentration. SHE was the one that did not hear or properly respond to the police siren. Her concentration problems may predate this accident that SHE caused.

Admin14

Obviously you are not informed properly as to who was at fault in this crash. The police - THEUNE was AT FAULT. Not the woman.
Sirens do not give emergency vehicles the right of way at an intersection when the other person has the green light, whether she heard it or not.
That is why THEUNE was at fault on the Crash Report.

winggirl

Except SHE hit Theune and failed to yield to an emergency vehicle.

BTL2A

Is that true? Looking at the pics it looks like the side of the van is damaged and the front of the cruiser is damaged. To me that indicates he hit her.

Sockie1972

My tax dollars going to waste again! With that amount of head injuries I'm surprised she was able to remember the event so clearly. How about I'll buy you a pair of glasses and a hearing aid so you can spot a police cruiser coming your way.

Admin14

Wake up!! She had the GREEN LIGHT !!! Theune was at fault!

Whowantstoknow

She is just out for money!!! She is greedy and saw a 1800-CALLSAM commercial on TV and decided this could be her moment to cash in. I'm kind of shocked she isn't going for $1million!!! How do you miss a police car with all it's lights on and sirens going?! Those lights are bright and the sirens are loud...maybe turn the music down and put her phone down. She is an absolute danger to all others on the road and should probably have her license taken away. Obviously all the other drivers saw the police car coming and heard it, why didn't she??? This sickens me!!!

cvocvo

Do you know this corner? Seriously? There is no way to see flashing lights coming from the east on M-104 when you are traveling north on Lake. The ONLY way this could have been avoided by her is if she would have ignored the green light and stopped at the intersection.

MYOB

Easy to miss with a big square building blocking your view. You have about 6 feet to see traffic once you clear the building blocking your view. When you get close to the intersection and see oncoming traffic stopped both ways, you are no longer worried about somebody running the light. Pretty easy to not see a police car with sirens. This person could probably be asking for more money. The officer was certainly at fault and her suit is more than reasonable. No one is or should be more aware of that meat shop blocking the the view of traffic than the police department and officers.

Admin14

"MYOB", you got it right! Others making comments on here, don't know the area apparently. Officer THEUNE had no right to bomb through that intersection on a red light expecting traffic to yield to him.

He must have never learned in the academy that driving just a little slower and safer only makes your arrival time about 15 seconds less in a tiny village.

He put citizens at risk. It's lucky she is alive. Why isn't the TRIBUNE finding out what his discipline was and why he wasn't ticketed when he was the one listed AT FAULT???

winggirl

How did he "bomb through" the intersection? Witnesses reported that he slowed down. You apparently have some sort of emotional investment in this case as you seem rabid in your distaste of Sgt. Theune. Remember, she hit him, which means he, with his lights and SIREN on, was there first.

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