Houston & Peach

Federal lawsuit filed in Warner Robins pedestrian death

WARNER ROBINS -- A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed in federal court in Macon in connection with a pedestrian death two years ago in Warner Robins.

The lawsuit was filed Dec. 3 by Theresa S. Yeisley, the administrator of the estate of Steven Michael Yeisley, and his two surviving children, Stephanie Lucas and Cynthia Marggraff, against Helen Faye Gavoe.

Steven Yeisley, 51, was standing in the outside westbound lane of Watson Boulevard near Knodishall Drive when he was struck by a 2007 Dodge Dakota driven by Gavoe, then 63, on Dec. 15, 2012, according to Warner Robins police. He was pronounced dead at the scene of the 4:58 a.m. accident.

The lawsuit alleges Gavoe’s negligence caused Yeisley’s death in that “she failed to exercise due care in the operation of her vehicle when she struck and killed him.”

Gavoe, who the lawsuit indicates has since moved from Warner Robins, could not be reached for comment. Mark Maholick, a Columbus attorney representing Gavoe, said, “On her behalf, the only comment I can make right now is that she would deny responsibility for the accident and in light of ongoing litigation, she’s going to decline to make any further comment at this point in time.”

Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that Gavoe failed to exercise due care to avoid striking a pedestrian, failed to sound her horn, was traveling too fast for conditions, was operating her pickup truck with reckless disregard for the safety of others and failed to stop, turn or otherwise avoid striking Yeisley, the lawsuit stated.

Theresa Yeisley is seeking compensatory damages for the “shock, fright and terror experienced” by Steven Yeisley and all components of the mental, physical pain and suffering he endured upon impact, payment of medical bills and $2,495 for his funeral and burial, as well as punitive damages to be determined by a jury at trial.

The surviving children are seeking full value of the life of their deceased father, including economic and intangible damages to be determined by jurors. The loss of his Social Security income was estimated in the lawsuit at more than $400,000 based on remaining life expectancy had he lived another 25 years.

The lawsuit also seeks recovery of all litigation costs.

Bo Sammons, one of the attorneys representing the Yeisley family, said former Houston County sheriff’s Cpl. Sean Alexander, who now owns his own accident reconstruction company, was retained to review the accident. As a part of that review, Alexander watched a video of the accident recorded by a nearby store’s surveillance camera, Sammons said.

“We don’t see any reason that she should not have avoided him,” Sammons said.

To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.