Southern Tire Mart has asked for 30 more days to file responsive pleadings to a lawsuit against the company in relation to the death of a cyclist during the 2019 Bikes, Blues & Bayous ride. 

Jim O'Daniel

Jim O'Daniel

The lawsuit, filed Oct. 12 in Leflore County Circuit Court, asks for unspecified compensatory and punitive damages against Southern Tire Mart, as well as the Greenwood-Leflore County Chamber of Commerce, the city of Greenwood, the Mississippi Department of Public Safety and the Mississippi Highway Patrol.

The family of Jim O’Daniel, who was the only participant to die during the 13-year history of Bikes, Blues & Bayous, accuses the defendants of various acts of negligence that they say contributed either directly or indirectly to his death.

O’Daniel, 50, a civil engineer and avid cyclist from Clinton, was one of about 1,000 people participating in the 2019 ride, the largest of its kind in the state.

He was biking with the lead group on the ride’s 62-mile route when he approached the intersection of U.S. 82 and Mississippi 7 in Itta Bena. He proceeded into the intersection, where he was fatally struck by a Southern Tire pickup truck driven by Edward Hibbler, according to the lawsuit.

The 16-page complaint, which is one side of a legal argument, accused Hibbler of driving the vehicle in a reckless or negligent manner.

The tire company asked for a 30-day extension Tuesday.

The motion listed four defenses for the extension of time, saying that the company’s counsel had only recently received the complaint, that the counsel is still investigating facts and allegations in the complaint, that more time is needed for discovery — the period in which prosecutors and defense attorneys exchange information about witnesses and evidence — and that the extension would “not delay an orderly disposition of this action.”

As far as the other defendants involved in the lawsuit, both the City of Greenwood and the Greenwood-Leflore County Chamber of Commerce have filed a proof of service — meaning that both parties provided written proof that they are aware of their involvement in a suit — but had not yet filed a response.

No other action from any of the defendants had been filed as of Wednesday morning with the Leflore County Circuit Clerk’s Office. The courthouse was closed Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Contact Adam Bakst at 581-7233 or abakst@gwcommonwealth.com. Twitter: @AdamBakst_GWCW

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