Friday Mar 02 2012
Colfax I-80 overpass rock victim adds more names to lawsuit
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
Parents, purported party throwers, contractor now part of civil claim
AUBURN CA - While three Colfax teens have paid with time behind bars for an Interstate 80 rock-throwing injury, the victim’s lawsuit is now expanding to include two people who purportedly hosted an alcohol-fueled party the night of the crime. The three teens – Hunter Owens, Samuel Edward Quinlan, and Sean Edwin Steele – were sentenced in October 2010 to 10 months in Placer County’s Juvenile Detention Center after entering “no contest” pleas to assault-with-a-deadly-weapon charges. This past fall, victim Jose Palomera cited continuing physical and emotional suffering from injuries received in the July 26, 2010, incident in a decision to sue the three and their parents. While not originally identified in the lawsuit, the parents of Owens, Quinlan and Steele are also being sued. Three have now been identified in court papers obtained by the Journal this past week from Placer County Superior Court. The three parents are Mark Quinlan, Karen Quinlan and Jamie Susan Hampel. The Quinlans have issued a general denial to allegations, denying any responsibility in the incident, which took place at about 2:30 a.m. Without identifying which parents, the lawsuit also states Owens – also known as Hunter Perez – Quinlan and Steele are “believed to have obtained alcoholic beverages from one or more of the custodial parents.” Sean Rollins and Nancy Rollins of Colfax are alleged in an amended complaint filed Wednesday to have played a role in the series of events July 25 and July 26 that led up to the rock-throwing incident on a Colfax overpass across I-80. They are purported in court documents filed by Palomera’s attorney John Beals to have hosted a party at their residence into the early-morning hours of July 26 that Perez, Quinlan and Steele attended with “numerous minor children.” The Rolllinses are alleged in the revised lawsuit to have “negligently and knowingly furnished alcoholic beverages” to the three and knowingly provide alcohol to them “to the point of inebriation.” Attempts to contact Sean and Nancy Rollins were unsuccessful Friday. According to Palomera’s lawsuit, the three teens “roamed the streets of Colfax unsupervised” on July 25 and 26, 2010, “drunk until inebriated.” The three found a “voluminous supply of large, heavy rocks and construction equipment” that was unguarded to throw off the overpass, the lawsuit states. Palomera’s original lawsuit – filed Oct. 25 in Roseville – also named Placer County, the city of Colfax and the state Department of Transportation as defendants. The amended lawsuit has added McGuire & Hester contractors of Oakland on allegations it didn’t secure the work site that rocks and equipment were taken from to throw off the overpass. Palomera was struck in the face and suffered serious injuries when a rock smashed through his vehicle’s windshield as it proceeded under the overpass. Steele was 17 at the time of the overpass incident. The other two were 16.