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Mumpower seeks $1.5M in damages over I-81 crash in Kingsport

Matthew Lane • Updated Dec 6, 2017 at 6:56 AM

GREENEVILLE — Former state Rep. Jason Mumpower has filed a $1.5 million federal lawsuit against an Illinois trucking company for injuries he sustained in a multiple vehicle accident last month.

Mumpower, who is currently the Tennessee Comptroller chief of staff, filed the lawsuit on Monday in U.S. District Court in Greeneville. Mumpower’s wife, Alicia, is also a plaintiff.

Named as defendants in the lawsuit are Pavel Gheleniuc (of Orlando, Fla.), Sopranos Inc. (of Palatine, Ill.) and Gogu Trucking Express (of Highland Park, Ill).

According to the lawsuit and published reports, multiple crashes took place on Interstate 81 on Nov. 2 that brought traffic to a halt for three hours and sent five people, including Mumpower, to the hospital.

The Kingsport Police Department reported that emergency personnel responded to an accident on I-81 in the area of mile marker 58 where an SUV had struck a guardrail. Mumpower, who was driving back from Nashville at the time, had slowed his vehicle in response to the accident and eventually came to a stop.

Soon after, a tractor-trailer (owned by Sopranos/Gogu and driven by Gheleniuc) swerved to the left to avoid a collision and rear-ended Mumpower’s vehicle. Mumpower’s vehicle was then knocked forward and into the back of a U-Haul rental truck, then rolled over, but came to rest on its tires.

The tractor-trailer continued forward and rolled over as well, with the tractor portion landing atop a Hyundai sedan and the trailer lying across traffic lanes, according to the KPD.

As a result of the accident, Mumpower suffered a broken arm and other “extensive” injuries.

The lawsuit claims Gheleniuc was negligent by:

— Failing to maintain control of the tractor-trailer.

— Failing to obey traffic control devices.

— Failing to keep a proper distance between vehicles.

— Failing to use due care.

Mumpower is seeking $1.5 million in compensatory damages from the defendants. The Mumpowers are being represented by Knoxville attorney John Dupree.

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