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12-27-2007, 11:33 AM
Friend sues buddy over 'flying bra' crash of '06
Passenger alleges driver was negligent at wheel
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Jeff Long, left, in a 2006 photo, is suing his friend, James Campbell, for losing control of the car.
( THE BLADE/ANDY MORRISON )
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By JOE VARDON
BLADE STAFF WRITER

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Jeff Long, left, in a 2006 photo, is suing his friend, James Campbell, for losing control of the car.

Two Toledo men who were seated side-by-side in a car that crashed last year after a red bra sailed back toward it from another car ahead are now on opposite sides of a lawsuit.

Jeff Long is suing James Campbell, driver of the car that swerved and flipped several times in the median on I-75, moments after the dog-chewed brassiere slipped off another car's antenna Sept. 26, 2006.

Mr. Long, 42, who suffered broken ribs, also is suing the girl whose bra went airborne on the freeway just outside of Perrysburg that afternoon.

But Mr. Campbell is being sued because, according to Mr. Long's lawsuit, he "negligently operated" his car, causing a "serious single-vehicle, rollover-type accident at high speed."

"I don't take it as he's suing me," Mr. Campbell said yesterday. "I take it as he's suing my insurance company. We've been friends an awful long time, and for something like this to break up our friendship is ridiculous. He just wants his bills paid."

Mr. Long, who is seeking in excess of $25,000 in the lawsuit filed on his behalf in Lucas County Common Pleas Court on Aug. 23, could not be reached for comment.

But Mr. Long's attorney, John Fisher, said there is some liability on Mr. Campbell's part because he was the driver of the car that crashed. Mr. Long declined further comment.

"Tipping my hand as to my theory on what happened could be to the detriment of Jimmy's case, and I don't want to do that," Mr. Fisher said.

Mr. Campbell, 38, filed suit in Wood County Common Pleas Court against Emily Davis of Bowling Green, who had hung the bra outside the car; Tabitha Adams, also of Bowling Green, who was driving the car, and passengers Angelia Church of Northwood and Robin Straub of Perrysburg in October, 2006.

He suffered a fractured vertebra in his neck and a fractured thumb, and was seeking in excess of $25,000 in compensatory and punitive damages. Mr. Campbell said he swerved to avoid a flying object coming toward his car, and didn't recognize the object as a bra.

According to Jack Fynes, Mr. Campbell's attorney, settlements were reached with Miss Davis and Miss Church, who were both 17 at the time of the accident, and Miss Straub, who was 16. He said a trial is set for Aug. 21 with Miss Adams, now 18, and insurance company Travelers Property Casualty Corp., which provided insurance coverage to Mr. Campbell.

Court records show that Ms. Davis' attorney has asked for a summary judgement from Judge Reeve Kelsey, who will consider that motion at a hearing Jan. 25.

"We believe the accident is partly her fault, and it appears she doesn't feel that way," Mr. Fynes said.

Miss Adams' attorney, John Kuhl, declined to comment.

Neither Mr. Fynes nor Mr. Campbell would disclose how much money Mr. Campbell secured through settlements already reached. But they both said they are suing Mr. Campbell's insurance company for damages not covered by the insurance policies of the other parties involved in the accident.

Mr. Campbell said he has $4,000 to $5,000 in unpaid bills as a result of the crash, and is frustrated the legal battles are ongoing more than a year later.

Miss Davis was found guilty of littering on Nov. 1, 2006, and sentenced to 24 hours of community service. The three who were riding in the car with her were not charged.

Ray Pittman, Ms. Davis' attorney, said his client doesn't deny putting her bra on Miss Adams' car antenna, but said the accident was Mr. Campbell's fault.

"We're taking the position the two guys were encouraging the girls and that they tried to catch the bra," Mr. Pittman said.

Mr. Campbell and Mr. Long have both denied those claims. web page (http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071227/NEWS02/712270373)