from the Circuit Court of Macoupin County No. 17L9 Honorable
April Troemper, Judge Presiding.
Attorneys for Appellant: Ellen R. Burford, of Granite City,
Attorneys for Appellee: Austin T. Moore, of Hennessy &
Roach, P.C., of Springfield, for appellee.
JUSTICE TURNER delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Presiding Justice Holder White and Justice Cavanagh
concurred in the judgment and opinion.
1 In April 2017, plaintiff, Ambrosia Smith, filed a two-count
complaint against defendants, Kaitlin Hancock and Paul
Roberson, seeking damages for injuries plaintiff suffered in
a September 2016 car accident. In September 2018, Roberson
filed a motion for summary judgment. After a hearing, the
Macoupin County circuit court granted summary judgment in
Roberson's favor, finding Roberson was not the legal
cause of plaintiffs injuries.
2 Plaintiff appeals, asserting the circuit court erred by
granting summary judgment in Roberson's favor. We affirm.
3 I. BACKGROUND
4 On September 29, 2016, plaintiff was traveling northbound
on Old Route 66 in Macoupin County when she was either
stopped or substantially slowed to make a left turn onto a
cross road. Plaintiff had stopped or slowed to permit
Roberson's southbound vehicle to pass. While stopped or
slowed, plaintiffs vehicle was struck from behind by another
northbound vehicle driven by Hancock. Due to the impact from
Hancock's vehicle, plaintiffs vehicle was propelled into
the southbound lane of traffic where it was struck by
5 In her April 2017 complaint, plaintiff alleged one count of
negligence against Hancock and one count of negligence
against Roberson. Regarding Roberson, plaintiff alleged
Roberson had a duty to plaintiff to operate and maintain the
vehicle under his control with due regard for plaintiffs
safety. She contended Roberson violated that duty by
committing one or more of the following acts, some of which
in violation of Illinois law: (1) failing to keep a proper
lookout; (2) driving his vehicle in a reckless manner (625
ILCS 5/11-503 (West 2016)); (3) driving his vehicle at a
speed that (a) was greater than what was reasonable and
proper with regard to traffic conditions and the use of the
highway or (b) endangered the safety of any person or
property (625 ILCS 5/11-601(a) (West 2016)); (4) failing to
sound an audible horn warning (625 ILCS 5/12-601 (West
2016)); and (5) failing to reduce speed to avoid colliding
with other vehicles (625 ILCS 5/11-601(a) (West 2016)).
Plaintiff further asserted that, as a direct and proximate
result of one or more of Roberson's aforementioned
actions, she sustained severe and permanent injuries when her
vehicle was struck by Roberson's vehicle.
6 Roberson filed a motion for summary judgment in September
2018, asserting no genuine issue of material fact existed on
the element of proximate cause and he was entitled to
judgment in his favor. In support of his motion, Roberson
attached the discovery depositions of himself, plaintiff, and
Hancock. He also noted the parties stipulated the video of
the accident taken by Jeff Bone's security camera
accurately depicted the accident.
7 In her deposition, plaintiff testified she was going to
make a left turn and saw Roberson's car coming from the
other direction. Plaintiff turned on her turn signal and
stopped her vehicle to allow Roberson's car to pass
before she made her left turn. She did not remember getting
hit by either Hancock's or Roberson's vehicles. The
next thing she did remember was not being able to lift her
head up off the seat and talking with Bone. Plaintiff did not
know if Bone's videotape accurately depicted the car
accident because she did not recollect the accident.
8 In his deposition, Roberson testified he was 70 years old.
On the day of the accident, he was driving south from
Litchfield and heading back to Staunton where he lived. His
wife was in the front passenger's seat. It had previously
rained that afternoon.
9 While driving home, Roberson observed plaintiff heading
northbound. Plaintiff had slowed to almost a stop and had her
left turn signal on. Roberson stated he was about a football
field or less away when he first observed plaintiff. Roberson
was driving between 45 and 50 miles per hour at the time. The
posted speed limit was 55 miles per hour. Roberson continued
down the road and observed a plume of water, dirt, and dust
come up behind plaintiffs car. Roberson assumed someone had
hit plaintiffs car. At that point, he started braking. He
testified 2½ seconds elapsed between the time he saw
the first car hit plaintiffs car and when he hit plaintiffs
car. He was positive about the amount of time because he had
timed Bone's video 25 times. Roberson stated that, when
plaintiffs car was struck by the first car, it spun around
180 degrees and came into his lane. He hit the rear end of
plaintiff s car. Roberson noted he only had a second between
the time plaintiffs car entered his lane and when his car hit
plaintiffs car. When plaintiffs car entered his lane,
Roberson locked up his brakes, swung his hand in front of his
wife, and braced for impact. He did ...