Widow files wrongful death lawsuit over International Drive

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – A widow is blaming the state for a motorcycle crash in Horry County that killed her husband in March.

According to the accident report, James Toronto Sr. was riding his motorcycle north on International Drive at around 12:45 p.m. When the road switched from pavement to coquina, which is made of broken sea shells, he lost control and crashed.

Toronto later died from his injuries. Officers say he was not speeding. The report lists two contributing factors “distracted” and “rut..holes and bumps.”

Teresa Toronto, representing her husband’s estate, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Department of Transportation over International Drive.

“The paved roadway changed to coquina without sufficient warning, which caused him to suddenly lose control of his vehicle and wreck,” the lawsuit states. “The Department of Transportation had the duty to properly warn motorists of the change in the roadway.”

However, the accident report says there were warning signs on the road, but officials wouldn’t specify how many or what the signs said.

The suit goes on to claim the state was negligent, careless and reckless in eight different ways. The first by, “Maintaining an unreasonably hazardous and unsafe roadway and failing to repair the dangerous condition of the roadway.”

According to the law suit, Toronto’s family has suffered grief, sorrow and mental anguish. They’re seeking compensation for actual damages, punitive damages and legal costs.

Teresa Toronto filed a second lawsuit against the Department of Transportation for survival action, which covers the time James Toronto spent in the hospital. News 13 could not get in touch with Toronto Thursday. Her attorneys also would not comment without her permission.

SCDOT Representative Robert Kudelka told News 13 by e-mail that he cannot comment on pending litigation.

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