One civil suit settled, one going to trial in DUI semi crash
POCATELLO — One of two civil suits filed against a Blackfoot man who crashed a semi-truck through two vehicles while drunk is set to go to trial.
Two lawsuits were filed against 58-year-old Shane Ray Warr and his employer, Idaho Falls-based TEC-Distribution, LLC, following a Feb. 2021 crash that injured at least two people.
While one of those suits was settled in mediation, the other was not and will go to a jury trial, according to court records.
Just after 4 p.m. on Feb. 3, 2021, Warr was driving a 2006 Freighliner M2 Tractor with a load northbound on Interstate 15 near the 5th Avenue offramp when he crossed the median into southbound traffic.
One of the two vehicles he struck was a 2015 Chevrolet Suburban driven by Debbie Akers.
Akers was extricated from her vehicle and taken to Portneuf Medical Center for emergency treatment. According to a lawsuit filed by her attorney, Akers suffered three fractures in her right femur, fractures to her lumbar spine, injuries to both shoulders and cuts to her face and head.
“As a direct and proximate result of the intentional, reckless, and negligent conduct of Warr and TEC causing the collision, Debbie Akers suffered severe and permanent injuries, has incurred substantial medical expenses and was disabled from her work as a teacher,” the lawsuit reads.
The lawsuit requests compensation for financial losses, including past and future medical expenses and lost income, and “non-economic” losses, including pain, suffering and “lost enjoyment of life.”
A second lawsuit was also filed on behalf of a passenger in Warr’s semi at the time of the crash.
In that suit, the passenger, James King, alleges to have suffered a broken back and compound fracture to his left foot.
During a June mediation hearing, attorneys representing Warr, TEC and King reached a settlement agreement, the amount of which has not been available. The case was dismissed with prejudice — meaning King cannot file again.
A settlement has not been reached regarding Akers’ lawsuit, so that case will be presented to a jury. A date for that hearing has not yet been set.
After reaching a plea agreement and pleading guilty to aggravated driving under the influence, Warr was sentenced to five to 13 years in prison. His driver’s license was also suspended for five years, beginning the day he is released from prison.
Less than three weeks after the crash, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration declared Warr an “imminent hazard.” This means that before Warr can once again operate a commercial vehicle, he must first successfully complete a “statutorily required return-to-duty process” which will be monitored by a substance abuse professional.