Moving firm sued in woman's accident

Wednesday, October 9, 2002

Waipahu resident

COURTESY PHOTO
Waipahu resident Kathy Mueller has been in a coma since being hit by a metal object while driving on June 10. Her two sons, Kelby, left, and Parker, were also in the car but not hurt.

By Leila Fujimori

lfujimori@starbulletin.com

Kathy Mueller has been in a coma since June 10, when a metal object crashed through her windshield and hit her on the head as she drove on Kunia Road.

The object, an 8-inch by 4 1/2-inch hydraulic extension jack head, landed in the back seat, where her two sons, Kelby, 4, and Parker, then 3 months, were seated. Neither child was hurt.

On Thursday, Mueller's husband, Mark, sued American Movers Inc., the moving company, which owned the tractor-trailer that was hauling the hydraulic jack head. The suit also named Ernesto Alcon Ganiron, who was driving the trailer, as a defendant.

The lawsuit filed in Circuit Court alleges the moving company negligently loaded, wrapped and/or secured the hydraulic jack head on the flatbed moving truck, causing it to fall onto Kunia Road, which violates state law prohibiting any vehicle from spilling its load onto the roadway.

The piece of metal left a huge hole in the windshield, then bent the steering wheel before hitting her head, said the Muellers' lawyer, Wayne Kekina.

The 36-year-old Waipahu woman suffered massive head injuries, Kekina said. She was taken by helicopter to the Queen's Medical Center, where she has since undergone four surgeries. Mueller remains unconscious in Maluhia Hospital, requiring 24-hour nursing care.

Medical expenses exceed $350,000, Kekina said.

Since the accident, Mark Mueller, 44, was left to care for their children alone, including their infant son, who was being breast-fed by his mother before the accident, Kekina said.

Kekina said a witness, who saw the object fly up from between the truck's back tires, chased down the truck and got its license plate number.

American Movers was transporting heavy equipment from the old Ewa Sugar Mill to the old Waialua Sugar Mill for a welding company.

An attorney for the moving company said he could not comment on the suit because he had not been served with the document.