ELKHART — The Democratic candidate for mayor of Elkhart is facing a lawsuit over a vehicle accident he was involved in last summer.
The lawsuit filed in Elkhart County court in June claims Rod Roberson was careless and negligent for his involvement in the three-vehicle crash on June 18, 2018. It was filed by Jean Cesar, one of the other drivers, who says he suffered injuries that may have permanent and lasting effects.
The lawsuit was filed in Circuit Court by South Bend law firm Pfeifer, Morgan and Stesiak. Court records show Roberson received a summons on July 19 but hasn’t filed a response.
The complaint for damages claims Roberson “carelessly and negligently operated his motor vehicle in such a way as to cause (a) chain reaction collision.” Cesar says he incurred medical expenses which may continue, as well as suffering lost wages and damage to his vehicle.
The 62-year-old Berrien Springs, Michigan, man seeks a jury trial and compensation for his losses.
An Elkhart Police Department report on the accident shows that Cesar complained of neck pain and received immediate medical attention from EMS responders. He was transported to Elkhart General Hospital for treatment.
Another driver, a 34-year-old Elkhart woman, complained of abdominal pain and was also treated at the scene before being taken to the hospital. Roberson was not reported injured.
The crash happened on Nappanee Street at the Bypass Road intersection around 5:30 p.m. All three drivers gave the same account, according to the report.
They said Roberson was driving southbound on S.R. 19 and was waiting to turn left into a parking lot. The other two drivers were in the two northbound through-lanes, while traffic in the left turn lane was backed up.
Roberson was waved on by a driver in the left turn lane and didn’t see the woman’s vehicle approaching in the far right-hand lane, the report states. The front of Roberson’s vehicle struck the side of hers as he made the turn, causing her vehicle to spin around twice before striking the back of Cesar’s vehicle.
“It was an accident that my insurance company is taking care of, and it’s just part of living, basically,” Roberson said. “Unfortunately, the accident happened, and I hope that everybody ends up OK.”
All three vehicles had to be towed from the scene. Damage was estimated to be in the $5,000 to $10,000 range.
The report doesn’t show that any citations were issued.