Jury awards $7 million to family

For The Weekly Post

PEORIA – A jury of 12 people has awarded $7,020,883 to the family of a Wyoming woman whose wrongful death occurred on July 11, 2017, two miles west of Toulon on Route 17.

Corina Miller, 41, was headed westbound on Route 17 when at 4:42 a.m. she drove into, underneath and beyond the tanker-trailer of a milk semi-truck driven by 51-year-old Timothy E. Schwenk, of Brimfield.

Schwenk had stopped in the eastbound lane of Route 17 in front of Doug Murray’s dairy farm and had backed the trailer across the westbound lane to enter the farm for a pick-up of milk.

Court documentation stated that Schwenk had installed “extra bright halogen headlights on his truck two weeks previously that were for off-road use only.” He used them on the road and blinded Miller as she approached from the east.

The civil case found that Schwenk and his employer, Cluver Milk Transportation, admitted in April Court pleadings that they were negligent and caused Miller’s death. The jury deliberated two and a half hours before delivering their verdict.

Last year in a Stark County criminal case, Schwenk won several Circuit Court decisions that resulted in that case being dismissed. Schwenk’s attorney argued successfully that Schwenk’s constitutional rights were violated and Circuit Judge Bruce P. Fehrenbacher agreed. Both urine and blood tests taken shortly after the fatal crash were suppressed, as well as, Schwenk’s statements.

Corina Miller is survived by her husband, Michael, who has remarried, and by her daughter, Kaylene, 25.

Judge Stephen Kouri presided over the four-day trial that was tried by Bruce Pfaff and Alexander March, of Pfaff, Gill and Ports law firm, of Chicago. Schwenk and Cluver were represented by Thomas Dluski and Matthew Hefflefinger, of Heyl Royster law firm, of Peoria.