" 'Ms. Grant chose to ignore her own medical history, and put the safety of others in this community at substantial risk'."
"Grant also had Fluoxetine, commonly known as Prozac, in her system. The drug is an antidepressant that can impair judgment, thinking or motor skills, according to the lawsuit."
Accident victim who was struck by car sues driver in Jackson County Circuit Court
December 16, 2009, 12:13AM
When Karen Grant's Honda hit runner Michelle Thrun last spring, the impact was so great Thrun's shoes came off her feet, her head left a concave indent in the windshield, and her body damaged the car exterior.
For the injuries, mental anguish, pain and other suffering Thrun and her husband, David, are suing Grant, 39.
The Blackman Township couple filed the suit last week in Jackson County Circuit Court, and it has been assigned to Judge Chad Schmucker.
It asks the court to hold Grant responsible for Thrun's damages, which include a closed-head injury, a concussion, severe contusions and past or future wage losses.
Grant, also of Blackman Township, was southbound on N. Dettman Road on May 28 when her 1987 Honda Prelude crossed the centerline. It struck Thrun as she was running south on the shoulder of the northbound lane, police reported. There was nothing wrong with her car, and Grant did not apply her brakes, according to the lawsuit.
Investigators concluded Grant "blacked out" while driving, and had similar experiences in the past.
Neither Grant nor an attorney acting on her behalf had filed a response to the lawsuit as of Tuesday. Efforts to reach Grant were not successful.
Her lawyer in a pending, related criminal case, Christopher Dickerson, said Grant feels "horrible" about the crash. "She realizes this lady could have died."
When Dickerson and Grant talk, Grant usually is in tears, Dickerson said. "She is definitely remorseful."
The Jackson County Prosecutor's Office charged Grant in August with felonious driving, punishable by up to two years in prison and a $2,000 fine. She pleaded no contest to the charge Dec. 1. Circuit Judge John McBain is to sentence her Jan. 28, according to a statement released by Thrun's lawyer, Bruce Inosencio Jr.
Grant admitted she had previously experienced losses of consciousness while driving, according to the lawsuit. At least once before the crash, her son had to take control of the steering wheel during one of those episodes.
What causes the blackouts is not clear, Dickerson said. She is continuing to visit a doctor and no longer drives, he said. The Michigan Secretary of State has revoked her license, he said.
"It is my opinion … the only reason Michelle Thrun sustained a closed-head injury, and other injuries, is because Ms. Grant continued to drive even after she knew that she was experiencing ‘blackouts,'" Inosencio wrote in the statement.
"Ms. Grant chose to ignore her own medical history, and put the safety of others in this community at substantial risk."
Grant also had Fluoxetine, commonly known as Prozac, in her system. The drug is an antidepressant that can impair judgment, thinking or motor skills, according to the lawsuit.
Dickerson said there were "detected" amounts of the medication in her blood, but testing did not reveal how much. The lawsuit alleges she did not have a prescription for the drug.
Since the crash, Michelle Thrun, who once ran a marathon in less than four hours, has not been able to run as fast or far as she once did.
She spent about two days in the hospital, had to use a walker for weeks and has struggled to cope with what happened.
In August, she said it is "terrifying" whenever she is running and hears a car approach from behind.
She did not return messages left this week at her home.