Auto insurer asks to sidestep coverage of client who crashed while intoxicated

By Carol Ostrow | May 21, 2015


A Cook County-based auto insurance company has asked a court to declare it has no responsibility to cover a Spring Grove woman who crashed her car into another while intoxicated.

Direct Auto Insurance Co. (DAIC) of Chicago issued a declaratory action May 4 in Cook County Circuit Court naming Paige M. Pickens, of Spring Grove; Lonny A. Huffar, individually, and as next friend of minor Braydon Huffar, of McHenry; and Elmer J. Gorham, also of McHenry, as parties involved in a July 2014 occurrence.

The suit states that on July 30, 2014, Pickens was driving near the intersection of Curran Road and Bull Valley Road in McHenry; that she was covered by a DAIC insurance policy; and that her car came into contact with a vehicle driven or occupied by Lonny Huffar, Braydon Huffar and Elmer Gorham, allegedly causing personal injuries and property damages.

According to the filing, Pickens was using her vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The plaintiff notes its policy excludes coverage in such circumstances, and alleges it has no duty to defend or indemnify Pickens in the accident.

DAIC asked the court to find Pickens was using her vehicle in the commission of a crime; that the plaintiff has no responsibility under the policy issued to Pickens to defend her in any suit or claim made by the other defendants; and that no defendant is entitled to any money from DAIC as a result of the accident.

No monetary damages are sought in the case. The plaintiff is represented in the case by attorneys James Newman and Brianne Connell, of James P. Newman & Associates, of St. Charles.

Cook County Circuit Court Case No.: 15-CH-7314

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