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Atlanta Truck Accident Lawyers > Blog > Car Accidents > Victims of Gwinnett Van Crash that Killed 7 Settle for $162 million

Victims of Gwinnett Van Crash that Killed 7 Settle for $162 million

By Shaddi Abusaid 

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Updated June 26, 2024

Lawsuits stemming from a fiery van crash in Gwinnett County three years ago that killed seven women and injured nine others have been settled for a combined $162 million, according to the plaintiffs’ attorneys.

The women, members of an addiction recovery group home, were going to a meeting April 24, 2021, when their van overturned on I-85 and burst into flames.

Family members of those killed and some of the surviving victims filed a series of lawsuits against the home where they lived, the maker of the Dodge passenger van and Monica Elizabeth Manire, the housemate who was behind the wheel at the time, among others.

Beasley Allen and Shiver Hamilton Campbell, the law firms representing the plaintiffs, said the $162 million is believed to be the largest settlement amount stemming from a single-vehicle wreck in Georgia history.

Authorities said the van, which was carrying 16 people, overturned when Manire abruptly changed lanes, causing it to topple over at the I-985 split. The 2002 Dodge slid across across two lanes before hitting a guardrail and bursting into flames.

The women killed during the crash were Normisha Monroe, 38, of Roswell; Alishia Carroll, 34, of Columbus; Kristie Whitfield, 44, of Mount Airy; Ashleigh Paris, 26, of Kennesaw; Tina Rice, 53, of Atlanta; and Rose Patrick, 34, of Ellabell. A seventh victim, 48-year-old Heidi Lesley of Duluth, died of her injuries two weeks later, according to police.

They were members of a Gwinnett-based addiction recovery program called We Are Living Proof and working to turn their lives around, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

“This is among the most tragic cases I have ever handled,” attorney Alan Hamilton said in a news release. “Our two firms collaborated closely, daily, for years to get justice for these survivors and family members of those who died.”

The lawsuits contended the van was prone to rollover crashes, and that the vehicle’s “dangerous and unstable design” was the primary factor in the deadly wreck. Those named as defendants included Chrysler and its parent company, the group home, a Peachtree Corners Pep Boys and a Lawrenceville tire shop, according to the filings.

Chris Glover, managing attorney for Beasley Allen, said there were initially eight lawsuits filed in the case. Seven wrongful death cases were combined into one, while the eight injury cases stayed in another, totaling two cases.

Attorneys declined to name the defendants who paid the settlements, citing confidentiality agreements, but said 16 plaintiffs received money.

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