Girlfriend sues errant driver in fatal crash in Spring Hill

BROOKSVILLE — The girlfriend of a Spring Hill man who was killed by an errant driver while taking his garbage to the curb filed a wrongful death lawsuit Wednesday.

Darrell Newberry, 25, died after being hit by James C. Morris in the predawn hours of Oct. 10, 2007.

Newberry was taking trash bags to the curb in front of his house on Elgin Boulevard when the 21-year-old driver crossed into the other lane and drove into Newberry's yard, the Florida Highway Patrol reported.

Moments before, Newberry and his girlfriend, Sherri Collins, were sitting in the couple's garage enjoying the morning stillness. She heard the crash and ran out into the darkness shouting for Newberry but couldn't find him. He died from his injuries.

As the personal representative of his estate, Collins is seeking civil damages exceeding $15,000 against Morris, a now 22-year-old Weeki Wachee resident. The couple's son, Demarcus, celebrated his first birthday five days after the accident, and Newberry has two more children from a previous relationship.

Morris was charged in May with DUI manslaughter. His case is still pending, with a trial tentatively scheduled for early February.

This isn't the first tragedy Collins has suffered. Her 23-year-old brother, Marc Collins, was killed in a December 2005 accident.

Authorities charged her brother's friend Brian Gomes with DUI manslaughter but in March a jury cleared Gomes in the death, finding him guilty of only a misdemeanor: driving under the influence with a suspended license.

John Frank can be reached at jfrank@sptimes.com or (352) 754-6114.

Girlfriend sues errant driver in fatal crash in Spring Hill 01/08/09 [Last modified: Sunday, January 11, 2009 5:41pm]

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