Parents of Collinsville teen killed in UTV accident file wrongful death suit

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – The parents of a 14-year-old who died in a utility vehicle accident last December have filed a wrongful death suit against the owner of the vehicle, his businesses, the property owner, and the vehicle manufacturer.

Attorney Ryan Sweet of the law firm Swanson & Sackett, P.C. filed the suit June 29 on behalf of Kristi and Chris DiMarco.

The DiMarcos’ daughter, Alexis, was killed December 16, 2019 in rural Collinsville.

According to the Madison County Sheriff’s Office, the accident occurred just after 3:35 p.m. on a levee near the 2000 block of North Bluff Road.

Alexis and three other teens were traveling on a 2019 Polaris Ranger XP Utility Task Vehicle when the vehicle slid and overturned onto the passenger side. Alexis was riding in the front passenger seat.

Alexis and the driver were ejected from the UTV. Alexis was pinned under the vehicle. Both were rushed to local hospitals.

The other two teens were in the rear of the UTV and were not injured in the accident.

Alexis arrived at Anderson Hospital but died just after 5:20 p.m. Authorities said she was not wearing a helmet or seatbelt at the time of the crash.

Sweet said the DiMarcos spent months trying to get investigation documents from the sheriff’s office and that the couple is “owed the truth” about what happened to their daughter.

The suit names 10 parties as responsible for Alexis’ death as a result of alleged negligence and product liability.

The suit names Forrest Lerch, whose daughter was driving the UTV at the time of the crash, as well four of his businesses: Lerch Properties, LCC; Lerch Properties Enterprises, LLC; Lerch Property Investments, LLC; and Triple Lakes Farm, LLC.

Kim Pamatot is also listed as a defendant in the suit. She is the owner of the farm where the crash occurred.

Polaris, the manufacturer of the UTV, is named in the suit. The attorney for the DiMarcos claims the vehicle was defective and dangerous because of its propensity to overturn even under normal operating conditions.

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