The family of a truck driver who suffered an apparent heart attack on Interstate 10 in Metairie last year has filed suit against the Jefferson Parish agency that takes 911 calls, claiming its employees failed to act on a call they received from the driver before his death.
The 73-year-old driver, Joseph Faulk Sr., of Vermilion Parish, was found dead Sept. 30 inside the sleeper cab of his 18-wheeler. Faulk had parked the vehicle on the side of the highway near Causeway Boulevard after a collision with a 2002 Toyota Avalon.
The lawsuit, filed in 24th Judicial District Court against the Jefferson Parish Communications District, says Faulk began suffering from symptoms of a heart attack after he “sideswiped” the vehicle.
It says he called 911 at 5:56 a.m.
Dispatchers received the call, which lasted 28 seconds, the lawsuit claims, but emergency personnel did not respond until more than eight hours later, after a colleague discovered him in the truck’s cab.
“We know a call was placed,” said Kenneth St. Pé, a Lafayette attorney who represents Faulk’s family. “No one showed up, and that’s all we know so far.”
St. Pé said he hopes to obtain a recording of the call as the civil case proceeds.
The lawsuit, which was first reported last month by the Louisiana Record legal journal, claims Faulk’s death was the result of the 911 district’s negligence and that it could have been avoided.
A State Police report on the incident says Faulk struck the Avalon while switching lanes, causing the car to spin around and crash into a “retaining wall” along the interstate. The Avalon’s 27-year-old driver refused medical treatment at the scene.
The report says Faulk “fled the scene without checking on the condition” of the other driver or providing identifying information. It says the crash happened just east of Clearview Parkway.
An attorney for the Jefferson Parish Communications District did not respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit.
In court filings, however, the district has denied wrongdoing and claimed it is immune from liability in the case under Louisiana law.
Faulk, who lived in Kaplan, had driven for Lynn Romero Trucking of New Iberia for more than 18 years.
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