Motorist who hit trooper ticketed for speed

The driver who struck Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper Sgt. Brad Lively was charged Thursday morning with speeding.

Cape Girardeau County Prosecuting Attorney Morley Swingle filed the charge claiming that Talisa M. Jackson, 25, of St. Louis was driving 75 miles per hour in a 70 mile-per-hour zone on northbound Interstate 55 about three miles north of Center Junction when the accident happened. The offense is punishable by a fine up to $200. Jackson has been issued a summons to appear Aug. 30 before Associate Circuit Judge Gary A. Kamp.

Highway patrol spokesman Sgt. Larry Plunkett said Thursday that Lively is aware of the charge filed against Jackson but has no comment about it.

The highway patrol investigation of the incident revealed that shortly before 10:07 a.m. June 14, Jackson was following a black sport utility vehicle doing about 75 miles per hour when she saw Lively come up behind her. She slowed down and Lively passed her to pursue the SUV, which he eventually pulled over. The trooper then got out of the patrol car and went to the center of the interstate on foot and began waving Jackson over. She tried to stop but could not avoid hitting him.

The driver of the SUV, Marc A. Curvo of O'Fallon, Mo., estimated that the two cars had been going in excess of 85 miles per hour. He told the patrol that when Lively began pulling him over he slowed down, pulled to the shoulder and stopped. He said that as Lively was stopping, he also was already opening his door, and then ran out into the lanes of the highway. Curvo said he lost sight of Lively but heard a loud thud within less than 10 seconds. He saw Lively fly through the air, then saw Jackson's car pull over about 100 feet in front of him.

According to the investigation, the video camera on Lively's car confirmed that eight seconds had elapsed from the time he got out of his car to the time he was struck. The sensory diagnostic module on Jackson's car indicated that in the five seconds before impact she had her foot on the brake and was decelerating from 58 to 53 to 49 to 44. She was going 34 mph when she hit Lively.

Swingle said that the speeding charge is the only charge he will file against Jackson.

"I do not believe Talisa M. Jackson had the culpable mental state necessary to be found guilty of any criminal offense other than speeding," Swingle said. "I will leave it up to the insurance companies and the civil lawyers to haggle over the issue of whether she was negligent under civil law and the determination of how much, if anything, she and her insurance company must pay in civil damages."

Lively suffered two broken legs and other injuries in the accident. Plunkett, public information officer with the highway patrol, said that Lively is now home, but is still bedfast and getting physical therapy treatments to restore flexibility and strength to his legs.

Plunkett revealed Thursday that until just recently Lively's jaw had been wired shut, stating that the patrol had previously been quiet about that injury.

"He is able to eat normal food and is talking," Plunkett said. "His spirits are very good. He is following his doctor's orders and his wife's orders and has got a great attitude."

Plunkett said that doctors are pleased with Lively's progress, but are still unable to predict when he will have full recovery. He is still unable to put any weight on his legs; one leg was injured more severely than the other. He is expected to walk again.

"In the next couple of weeks we might be able to see him on crutches," Plunkett said.

335-6611, extension 160