SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - A year after a van crashed into a Savannah Outback Steakhouse, attorneys for the four people burned when it plowed through the kitchen say they have the evidence to prove the driver should be blamed for the wreck. They’ll have a chance to prove that in court later this year.
Attorneys Michael Goldberg and David Eichholz say the last year for their client LaRyan Gaines was marked with monthly trips to the Burn Center in Augusta.
"For him, it's a life-changing injury," Goldberg said. "LaRyan was severely burned over 31 percent of his body, so he's gone through a number of different procedures. In addition to that, he has to every month be checked for infection, so he has to go up to the burn center, get checked out."
Attorney James Wilson, who represents Quincy Quarterman, said his client is also continuously undergoing laser treatments, skin grafting, and other procedures in Augusta.
They're two of the four employees sent there after Lanier drove this van through the Outback Steakhouse kitchen last February. Police said Lanier lost consciousness before he smashed into the building, but Goldberg says Lanier's explanation for why that happened doesn't make sense.
"Initially, Mr. Lanier told the police there was a mechanical problem with his vehicle that the throttle stuck and the vehicle drove itself into the Outback," Goldberg said. "Since then, there have been a number of changes to his story. The current version of the story is that he blacked out and doesn't remember anything that occurred leading up to the accident, and so he's going with a medical defense."
After deposing lots of people connected to the crash and having the van inspected, Goldberg says he's collected evidence to disprove those.
"We think that the evidence is going to show that actually he was distracted by doing something inside the van, took his eyes off the roadway, and by the time he looked up, it was too late to stop," Goldberg said.
WTOC reached out to attorneys representing both Lanier and Lin R. Rogers Electrical Contractors Inc., the company the lawsuits say Lanier worked for when he crashed, but neither gave a comment.
Goldberg said the cases are scheduled to go to trial in October.