Crash victim's mother sues drivers, alleging negligence


The mother of a Prince George's County man who was killed in a Wayson's Corner car wreck in July filed a $6 million suit yesterday in Anne Arundel Circuit Court alleging that the drivers of both vehicles were negligent.

Darryl Coates, 34, of the 6600 block of Ronald Road in Capitol Heights was one of three people killed when a tractor-trailer crashed into the side of the Dodge Shadow in which he was riding. The accident occurred at 10:22 p.m. July 20 on Route 408 near Sands Road.

Police said the car had just pulled into the intersection when it collided with a truck hauling compacted trash. John Gaskins, 56, of Hague, Va., was driving the truck.

A preliminary investigation found that the car failed to yield the right of way, said Sgt. Robert Johnson, an Anne Arundel County police spokesman.

The car's driver, Frances Joanne Madden, 35, of the 4700 block of Flanders Lane in Harwood, died in the accident, along with Carol Anne Colbert, 40, of Prince George's County. Ms. Colbert also was a passenger in the Dodge.

In the suit, Thelma Coates of the 6600 block of Ronald Road in Capital Heights alleges that the negligence of Ms. Madden and Mr. Gaskins caused the death of her son. Sayone Moore, identified in court papers as the mother of Mr. Coates' daughter, Taletta Coates, also is listed as a plaintiff.

The suit names as defendants Ms. Madden's estate, Mr. Gaskins and W. C. Hall General Hauling Inc. of Callao, Va., the trucking company Mr. Gaskin was working for at the time of the accident.

It claims that the road was not designed for heavy truck traffic and that Mr. Gaskins "should not have been on the roadway where the accident happened." It also alleges that Ms. Madden breached her duty "to keep a proper lookout" and "to operate at a safe and reasonable speed."

Mr. Gaskins was unavailable for comment yesterday. Walter Gruner, general manager at W. C. Hall, said he had not seen the suit and could not discuss the case.

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