Family of girl killed in I-96 crash plans to sue trucking company

11-year-old girl killed when truck slammed into her family's SUV along Detroit freeway

By Priya Mann - Reporter

DETROIT - The family of an 11-year-old girl killed this past weekend in a crash on Interstate 96 in Detroit is suing the trucking company and the driver who hit them.

Jennifer Vigil was in a SUV with two small children and her older sister when they were hit from behind by a milk truck.

Her funeral was Thursday. Her mother is about 7 months pregnant and has been in and out of the hospital as she struggles to come to terms with the loss. The Vigil family plans to sue Faist Farms Trucking, based in Pleasant Lake, as they mourn the loss of their 11-year-old daughter.

It was about 8:30 p.m. Saturday when the family's 1998 Lincoln Navigator broke down in the far right lane on westbound I-96 near the Davison Freeway. They couldn't pull all the way over to the right due to the snow buildup on the interstate.

Inside the vehicle were three children: 18-month-old Allison, 5-month-old Luis, their mother Maria and 11-year-old Jennifer.

Outside the truck, Maria's boyfriend was trying to figure why the car stopped working when they were hit from behind.

"They were faced with a very dire situation. They did the right thing, they put the emergency flashers on, but unfortunately we had a truck driver who wasn't paying attention," said Paul Doherty, the family's lawyer.

The driver of a commercial dairy farm truck claims he did not see the Navigator broken down before he struck the vehicle.

Jennifer was pronounced dead at the hospital.

"The truck that is loaded with liquid, this is a mile truck, and it weighs several tons, you got to be more vigilant than a regular car driver," said Doherty.

The truck driver, a 37-year-old Leslie man, was not injured and neither was anyone else in the Navigator.

The lawyer said the family had their flashing lights on while they were waiting for help and they were in a well lit portion of the freeway when the crash happened.

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