On May 24 2007, Dean Hancock of Tupelo MI and Josh's father filed suit in St Louis Circuit Court in regards to his son's accident. While no damages were specified at filing, there are plenty of defendents. Mike Shannon's Restaurant, owned by the longtime Cardinals broadcaster along with his daughter, Patricia Shannon Van Matre who is the restaurant manager. Other defendents include Eddie's Towing, the company that owned the flatbed tow truck that Hancock struck, tow truck driver Jacob Edward Hargrove and Justin Tolar, the driver of the stalled car that was awaiting towing.
The lawsuit claims that Hancock was a regular at the restaurant bar and had gone there not long after the completion of a day game. In the 3 1/2 hours he spent there, he was handed drinks and allegedly was never without a drink.
To further distribute the blame, the lawsuit claims that Tolar was negligent in allowing his vehicle to reach the point where it stalled on the highway and for failing to move it out of the way of oncoming traffic. Hargrove has been included in the lawsuit for failing to remove the vehicle from the road in a timely fashion. Police have said that he arrived on the scene minutes before his truck was struck by Hancock's SUV while the lawyer for Dean Hancock claims that he may have been there for up to 15 minutes.
"Were the police contacted? Why weren't flares put out? Why was the tow truck there for an exorbinant amount of time?" asked Keith Kantack, lawyer for Dean Hancock.
This may seem all fair in the loss of someone so young but some of the other facts in this case according to Police Chief Joe Mokwa include Josh Hancock having a blood alcohol content of 0.157 at the time he crashed his rented Ford Explorer into the tow truck. In addition to this, he was speeding, using a cellphone, wasn't wearing a seat belt and 8.55 grams of marijuana and a glass pipe were found in the vehicle after the crash.
Kantack has stated that others may be added to the lawsuit in the future but declined to speculate as to who they would be. May I suggest a few others then? Why not add the person Hancock was talking to on the cellphone, since they did not tell him to stop driving and take a cab. The rental company for not having installed ignition interlock technology on the SUV which would have prevented Hancock from starting it and driving drunk. The seatbelt manufacturer for not having developed a system that would have made sure Hancock was wearing it at the time of the crash. At this rate, why not also add anyone who Hancock may have observed growing up, taking a drink or two as having set a bad example for him and the alcohol manufacturers and distributors for making it available to him so readily.
The bottom line is that a family has lost a son far too soon and that the only blame there should be is upon Josh Hancock, who knew when he had the first "free" drink in his hand, it was his choice as to what the mature and correct decision was. I am sorry that the Hancock family has lost a son but they should also be very thankful that no one else was harmed in the accident.