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'Were we negligent?' asks garbage truck firm

A garbage collection company involved in a fatal accident is asking the court to decide if, and to what degree, it was responsible for the incident.

Richard "Ricky" D. Nelson, 30, 111 N. Fourth St., died Nov. 26, 2008, after hitting the back of a Veolia ES Solid Waste truck. Nelson, who was driving a 1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee, hit the 2007 Mack garbage truck as it waited in the median of Hwy. 35N and Whitetail Boulevard.

Nelson's Jeep was southbound on Hwy 35. The Veolia truck, driven by Mark J. Anderson, Rosemount, Minn., had crossed the southbound lanes of Hwy. 35 and was headed east.

The Veolia civil case, filed March 3 in St. Croix County, cites Wisconsin's Uniform Declaratory Judgments Act. That law allows courts to declare rights, status and other legal relations whether or not damages are being or can be claimed.

While denying liability, Veolia concedes the accident may have been caused by the negligence of Anderson or Nelson.

The following are listed as parties to the case: Nelson's estate; his daughter, Heaven L. Carlson, age 4; her mother, Tiffany L. Carlson, 302 W. Maple St., Roberts; Nelson's parents, Robert and Nancy Nelson, Garfield, Minn.; and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, Bloomington, Ill.

According to the civil complaint, Nelson may have endured conscious pain and suffering before his death, and his parents and estate may have paid medical and funeral expenses.

The suit says his daughter may have a claim for financial support.

Ron and Nancy Nelson apparently owned the vehicle their son was driving and their insurance may have provided collision coverage and Minnesota "personal injury protection" insurance

The complaint asks the court to determine if Anderson and Veolia are liable to any of the other parties as a result of the accident and if so in what amount.