Toby and Family Win Wrongful Death Suit

Toby Keith, his mother and Toby's siblings have been awarded $2.8 million in damages in the 2001 traffic collision that killed Toby's father, H.K. Covel, in Oklahoma.

A Purcell, Okla., jury returned the verdict against Elias Rodriguez and Pedro Rodriguez, operators of Rodriguez Transportes of Tulsa, Okla., and the Republic Western Insurance Co. According to evidence presented at trial, a charter bus owned by the Rodriguezes was "in urgent need" of brake repairs before Covel was killed in the accident in March of 2001 on Interstate 35. The Rodriguezes had been advised of the brake problem prior to the accident. The family initially suspected that Toby's father had suffered a medical condition that caused his truck to veer out of control, cross the median and strike the bus. The family later learned that another vehicle had bumped the truck and filed a wrongful death lawsuit to clear Covel's name. The plaintiffs—Toby, his mother Carolyn Covel, sister Tonni and brother Tracey—alleged that Covel would not have died had the bus been equipped with properly working air brakes. "The jury found no fault on the part of Mr. Covel in the wreck that claimed his life," said attorney Greg Dixon, who represented Toby's family.

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