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Van crash lawsuits combined


By Sid Schwartz/Gazette Staff

A lawsuit filed in Rock County by the family of a young man who was among seven killed in a March 1999 van crash was consolidated Monday with two similar lawsuits in Dane County.

Rock County Judge James Welker granted the motion brought by the lawyer representing Albert and DeAnna Roberts, parents of Marshall Roberts, 16, of Iowa.

"I think these cases should be tried together," Welker said Monday.

He ordered the Roberts family lawsuit consolidated with similar lawsuits filed in Dane County Court by the families of crash victims Monica Forgues, who was mostly paralyzed after the crash, and Nicole McDougal, who suffered brain damage in the crash.

A fourth lawsuit was filed in federal court in Louisiana by the parents of Joseph Wild, 21, who also was killed in the crash. That lawsuit has been transferred to federal court in Madison.

Criminal charges are pending in Rock County against Choan Lane, 31, the man accused of leading the traveling magazine sales company called YES. In June, the company was found guilty of criminal charges and fined $132,000 after nobody showed up in court to represent the company.

The van crashed on Interstate 90 north of Janesville after the driver, Jeremy Holmes, tried to swap seats with a passenger at 80 mph. He was sentenced to seven years in prison on 12 felony charges.

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