Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed in Deadly I-85 Crash


CHEROKEE COUNTY, SC – Janet, Janet and Suggs, LLC, a national plaintiff’s law firm, filed a lawsuit last night in the death of a Virginia woman in a multi-car pile-up in a crash-plagued construction zone along I-85 South this summer.

The suit was filed on behalf of Thomas Goggin whose wife, Karen Goggin, 60, was killed July 15, 2021, when the couple’s car was hit from behind by a semi at 60 miles per hour. At the time of the crash, their Ford Escape was stopped in a line of vehicles in a cars-only traffic lane, or “chute,” made of concrete barriers. The barriers, which were erected to control the flow of traffic through an I-85 South construction project near Gaffney in Cherokee County, not only created the conditions that led to the crash, but also delayed emergency crews from reaching Mrs. Goggin in time to save her life.

The truck’s driver, John Allen Ferguson, was driving a commercial Peterbilt tractor-trailer in the same ‘cars-only’ lane after failing to take the exit that funneled commercial vehicles into a separate lane. Along with Ferguson, also named as defendants are Blythe Construction, Inc., Zachry Construction Corp., Johnson, Mirmiran and Thompson, Inc., and, Cowan Systems LLC.

“It’s recklessly irresponsible to trap motorists, including families, between walls with no way to escape from being hit, and on top of that, to have a total failure of enforcement of lane restrictions and a 60 mile per hour speed limit. Add a speeding, inattentive tractor trailer to the mix and this kind of carnage is inevitable,” said Kenneth Suggs, partner of the Janet, Janet & Suggs law firm of Columbia, SC.

"The companies in charge of this construction project knew that the "chute" was a death trap. No one else should have to go through what we did that day. They must be held accountable for injuries and all the lives lost, including Karen's," said Mr. Goggin.

The suit was filed in the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina, Spartanburg Division. The case number for the lawsuit is 03157.

More than 300 crashes with injuries have occurred on I-85 South in Cherokee county since 2020, including six fatalities since construction began, according to county records.

About Janet, Janet and Suggs, LLC

Janet, Janet, and Suggs, LLC. (JJS) is a national firm with offices in 10 states and Washington D.C. The firm has decades of experience handling catastrophic injury cases and has won over three billion dollars in verdicts and settlements for clients across a wide range of serious and complex cases.

Full complaint available upon request.

Tammy Huoni
(443) 973-6126

Teresa Kelly
(512) 217-8051

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