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Family receives $15M in I-20 crash that killed 3

Attorneys from a Dallas firm have reached a $15 million settlement with an Arizona trucking company following an 18-wheeler crash near Colorado City that killed three family members last year and severely injured a fourth, according to a news release.

The settlement was reached Tuesday during jury selection in a Dallas County court. The lawsuit was brought by the family of Casey Tyrone Baxter, of Fort Worth. The Law Offices of Frank L. Branson represented the family.

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The lawsuit charged that Phoenix-based Swift Transportation was responsible when its driver, Douglas Spencer Waters, lost control of a tractor-trailer and crossed over the median on Interstate 20, crashing into an oncoming Chevrolet Trailblazer carrying three generations of a Texas family.

Killed in the crash were Casey Tyrone Baxter, 30, his 9-year-old daughter, Jaleigha Tatiana Williams, and his mother-in-law, Sue Pratt Williams, 49. His wife, Joanna Sue Williams, 28, suffered severe injuries.

The suit contended that Swift was negligent for failing to maintain the tractor-trailer and for failing to spot Waters’ falsified driving logs, among other claims. Experts were prepared to testify that the truck’s left front wheel was worn and a front-end alignment problem caused the steering wheel to shake.

Swift, a privately owned company, operates the largest trucking fleet in the United States.

The wreck occurred before dawn on April 10, 2007, as Baxter was driving east on Interstate 20 near Colorado City. Waters and a co-driver were traveling westbound when the tractor-trailer crossed the median and struck the family’s SUV.

© 2008 The E.W. Scripps Co.