By Jesse Wood
Sept. 11, 2014. The estate of Reinalda Roa Gomez, a 57-year-old woman of Boone who died after a Town of Boone snowplow collided with Gomez’s 2006 Mercury vehicle last year, has filed a lawsuit against Town of Boone and Robert Dale Rominger, a town employee and driver of the snowplow.
The civil suit was filed in Watauga County Superior Court on Aug. 22 and alleges negligence on the part of the Town of Boone for failing to maintain its fleet and Rominger for failing to inspect and test the brakes before driving on the night in question.
On March 25, 2013 at about 7:40 p.m., Rominger was driving the snowplow down University Hall Drive when the brakes of the snowplow didn’t stop the vehicle at a stop sign at the U.S. 321 intersection during a snowstorm.
“The weather on the night of March 25 was extremely snowy and all roads in and around Boone were covered with ice,” the complaint reads.
The snowplow struck Gomez’s vehicle, which was traveling in a “northerly direction” on U.S. 321. She died on March 28, 2013, suffering severe injuries and “mental anguish” from the accident, the complaint reads.
In addition, the complaint alleges that the Town of Boone failed to maintain mandatory and routine records of maintenance procedures on the fleet and failed to provide proper mechanical training for the specific brake system featured on the snowplow.
Also, the complaint alleges that Rominger failed to maintain a reasonable, careful and proper lookout in the direction of travel; exceeded a reasonable rate of speed under the circumstances and conditions; and “knew or should have known the brakes were defective.”
The estate, which is represented by Frank Wilson of di Santi, Watson Capua and Wilson law firm in Boone, is requesting that the judge order Rominger and the Town of Boone to pay for attorney expenses and $10,000 each in compensatory damages for, among other reasons, treatment, hospitalization and funeral expenses of Gomez. This is in addition to whatever else the court deems.
Alma Ross Miranda Roa is the executor of the estate. The Town of Boone and Rominger are represented by Lee Davis of Davis & Hamrick, LLP, out of Winston-Salem. Davis is out of the office until Monday.
On Aug. 29, the court granted a request from the defendant for a 45-day extension in addition to the required 30 days to respond to the complaint and prepare its case. This deadline is Oct. 27.