Local News

January 23, 2014

Man hurt in wreck files lawsuit, still recovering

As a Dalton man who nearly lost his life in a wreck with an allegedly drunk driver continues his recovery, his attorney has moved ahead with a civil lawsuit in Whitfield County Superior Court.

Attorney Steve Williams said that because there is more than one insurance company involved — the woman authorities said caused the wreck was driving a truck that belonged to another person — the most practical move to get action quickly seemed to be to file suit.

Williams represents Christopher Kitts, 20, and his 15-month-old son, Ryan, who were in the wreck when authorities said Amy Nicole Raburn, 26, of Tunnel Hill, was charged Jan. 4 by the Georgia State Patrol with DUI, possession of meth, possession of tools for the commission of crime, failure to maintain lane, driving on the wrong side of the road, driving without a valid license and serious injury by vehicle.

Investigators said Raburn was driving a 1999 Ford Ranger north on Cleveland Highway near Pleasant Grove Elementary School when she crossed the center line and the center turn lane and entered a southbound lane where she hit a 2005 Toyota Scion driven by Kitts.

Kitts was airlifted to Erlanger Medical Center in Chattanooga where he stayed until a few days ago to undergo treatment for numerous broken bones and to have facial reconstruction surgery. His son was taken to Hamilton Medical Center with minor bumps and bruises.

Williams said the suit was filed against both Raburn, whom the suit states was driving the truck while under the influence of drugs, and Ralph Henry Cline Jr., whom the suit states “knew and should have known” Raburn wasn’t capable of safely driving but allowed her to do so.

Raburn was let out of the Whitfield County jail on $20,000 bond on Jan. 6. No one answered at a phone number listed for the address on file for Cline and Raburn. It was unclear whether either has an attorney or has received a copy of the suit, which was filed Jan. 13.

Without naming an amount, the suit asks for punitive damages plus damages for “pain and suffering and mental anguish” and damages to cover expenses incurred as a result of the wreck.

Dana Johnson, Kitts’ uncle, said Kitts does not have medical insurance and the family has set up a donation account at Regions Bank.

“He is making an awesome recovery,” Johnson said. “We are just so thankful that he is recovering so quickly.”

Donations can be mailed to Regions Bank, Christopher Kitts Donation Account, 509 S. Thornton Ave., Dalton, GA 30720.

Individuals can also donate money online at www.youcaring.com by searching for “Chris’s Change” in the upper right corner. According to chrischangedonate.webs.com, a website his supporters set up, the campaign for Chris Kitts is designed to raise money for him but also to “educate our community that drunk driving has consequences that affect the lives of many.”

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