A local family is dropping its case against the makers of a controversial guardrail, which they say caused their son's death. Adam Coster was killed in 2011 when his car collided with the end of a Trinity Industries' guardrail on Interstate 64.
Exactly one year after we first brought you Adam’s story, his mother got in touch with us. In an email she wrote a Virginia law found only in two other states is forcing them to make the decision to drop the case.
Adam Coster's car became a mangled mess of metal in the early morning hours of October 9th 2011.
“Our family chain is now broken,” Donna Coster said of her son’s death.
According to Virginia State Police, the 29-year-old was driving east on Interstate 64 in Newport News. His car ran off the road, striking a Trinity guardrail end terminal and careening over a small embankment. Donna and John Coster were told Adam swerved to avoid hitting a deer. He died at the scene.
“You don't ever get over losing a child,” Donna lamented. “It gets softer, which I think it's started to, but it never goes away.”
The lawsuit they filed against Trinity alleged instead of ribboning away, the end terminal pierced Adam's car and impaled his body.
It is similar to other suits we've seen filed. But here's the problem-- in a note sent Wednesday, Donna said Adam was not driving the speed limit. Here in Virginia that makes him responsible for the crash. Virginia’s contributory negligence laws say if an injured person is found to have contributed to causing the accident in any way whatsoever, you don't have a case. It is all or nothing.
So, since Adam was speeding, Trinity can't be found to be 100% at fault. The Coster's wouldn't be able to collect any money in damages.
Virginia is one of only three states in the entire country that still holds the bar this high.
Donna wrote she prays "Trinity is made to pay for their wrongdoing through other suits."
“They need to be held accountable for their actions,” she said in an earlier interview. “There needs to be a consequence and I hope they learned from what they did and I hope that other companies will learn from what they did and will not do anything to endanger people's lives anymore.”
Trinity, on the other hand, said Wednesday in all of the suits and tests, their products have never been found to be defective.
"We never want to see anyone injured when they impact a highway safety device,” spokesperson Jeff Eller wrote in a statement. “When they are, it does not mean the device failed. As we've noted before, you must look at the multitude of factors that go into each crash before you can make any judgment about its outcome. We know that when it's properly installed and maintained, the ET Plus system works as designed."