Hit-and-run victim files lawsuit

A man injured in a hit-and-run accident earlier this year has filed a lawsuit against the man police said was driving the car that struck him.

Grant Black filed the lawsuit against Will Slinger, who recently was charged with three felony counts of leaving the scene of an accident with serious bodily injury.

Police said Slinger was driving the vehicle that smashed into the back of Black’s vehicle, pushing him into traffic and causing an accident with another vehicle in January. Police said Slinger then left the scene.

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Black’s lawsuit said Slinger was careless and negligent by driving at an unsafe speed, driving while impaired, failing to observe the road in front of him, failing to keep a proper lookout for other vehicles, failing to pay attention to vehicles in his path and failing to avoid a collision, according to the lawsuit filed last month in Johnson County Superior Court 4.

Allegations made in a civil lawsuit are the opinion of the person filing them and may be refuted in court.

Steven Willsey, an attorney representing Black, said the claim that Slinger was impaired is an allegation based on his past history and the fact that he left after the accident. They will need to prove that allegation through the case, and plan to call witnesses and get testimony in support of the claims, he said.

Slinger was found and arrested by police months after the accident. He was charged with three felonies this week.

He was convicted of operating while intoxicated and operating while intoxicated causing death in a 2005 accident, when he was 18, that killed a new mother. At the time, Slinger had told police he used marijuana before the accident.

Black’s lawsuit seeks damages, but no amount has been specified.

The goal is to get answers about what happened that day, Willsey said.

“We’re more just wanting to press this, find out what happened, and at some point, if we get the opportunity, we will press for compensation,” he said.

Black said he only wants justice.

He sustained multiple injuries in the accident, including 16 fractured ribs, a broken fibula, a broken sternum and a shattered elbow.

Because of the accident, Black had pain and suffering, and may have a permanent condition, which could mean he will lose wages. He has also had to see multiple doctors and specialists and racked up medical expenses, the lawsuit said.

Black’s vehicle was forced into the path of Mary Anne Litwicki and her husband Mitch Wolhmuth, who also were seriously injured. Wolhmuth was in a coma for more than a month and suffered a serious brain injury. Litwicki had a shattered wrist and compound fracture in her ankle and has since had multiple surgeries.

The couple also has hired an attorney, but no lawsuit has been filed, attorney Michael Miller said.

Annie Goeller is managing editor of the Daily Journal. She can be reached at agoeller@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2718.