By Dan Nienaber
Free Press Staff Writer
— A 24-year-old Good Thunder man who served 30 days in jail for hitting a hay wagon while driving drunk is now being sued for injuries he allegedly caused in the August 2011 crash.
Gina Urban, 43, has filed a lawsuit against Joshua Jerald Bateman saying she received permanent injuries as a result of the crash.
Urban is suing for medical costs, lost wages, and physical and mental pain. In a separate complaint, she also is seeking punitive damages because Bateman was intoxicated at the time of the crash.
A Good Thunder police officer and Blue Earth County sheriff’s deputies were called to the crash site on Blue Earth County Road 35, a gravel road north of Good Thunder, at about 10 p.m. Aug. 27.
Daniel Blanck, who was 17 years old at the time, had been driving a tractor pulling the wagon full of 16 passengers, who were mostly adults. Blanck said he was driving south toward Good Thunder when he saw Bateman’s car coming toward him on the wrong side of the road.
Bateman’s car hit the large back tire of the tractor before spinning into the wagon, which broke apart from the impact. Brian Martin, the deputy who investigated the crash, said that Bateman was nearly killed by a piece of lumber from the wagon that went through his windshield and ended up where his head should have been.
Urban and Mandy Janzen were taken to the hospital by ambulance after the crash. Urban had a broken ankle and Janzen told deputies she had pain in her head, neck, back and hip, the accident report said.
Face injuries also sent Bateman to the hospital where blood was drawn for an alcohol test. That test showed he had a blood-alcohol concentration of .18, more than twice the legal limit of .08 for driving in Minnesota. A preliminary breath test at the scene showed a BAC for nearly .20, the reports said.
Bateman admitted to having four drinks with a pizza at the Thunder Bar in Good Thunder. He said he had the four drinks over a span of nearly four hours.
District Court Judge Krista Jass ordered Bateman to serve 30 days in jail after he pleaded guilty to one felony count of criminal vehicular operation. He has had to serve the time in two-day segments per month that started in April.
He also was ordered to pay about $4,900 in restitution in March. None of that restitution has been paid.
Urban is suing for an amount in excess of $50,000. In his answer, Bateman’s attorney denied that Bateman was negligent in the crash. The answer said Urban or a third party is responsible for any negligence.