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Toby Keith's family wins suit in father's death

Monday, December 24, 2007 – The family of Toby Keith won a $2.8-million dollar award against a Tulsa, Okla. Company for the wrongful death and negligence of T.K. Covel, Keith's father, in a March 2001 car accident.

Elias Rodriguez and Pedro Rodriguez - doing business as, Rodriguez Transportes of Tulsa and the Republic Western Insurance Company, an Arizona Corporation - were found responsible.

Covel was driving a Ford truck that was traveling near Goldsby, Okla. when he was bumped by another vehicle, sending his truck across the median, where it was struck by a southbound tour (charter) bus. The Rodriguezes were in a 1996 Dina Viag charter-type bus loaded with 21 passengers at the time of the accident. They had purchased the bus in October of 2000. In the following month, November 2000, a bus servicing facility in Tulsa inspected the bus and found it was "urgently" in need of brake work.

An expert witness testified that Covel would have lived if the bus has been equipped with proper brakes and the driver had been properly trained to drive the bus The evidence in the case revealed the bus driver, David Perez, was not trained to drive a commercial bus and did not have a commercial driver's license. The jury concluded the accident was "clearly avoidable," according to Keith's publicist.

Initially it was speculated that Covel may have suffered a medical condition, thereby causing the accident because no one knew that a car had bumped his truck onto the other side of the I-35. Six months after the accident, Jeanne Sparlin, who was the driver of that vehicle, was charged with leaving the scene of a fatality accident. She later pled guilty to the charge. This collection of facts led the Covel family to hire an investigator to determine how the accident occurred and what caused Covel's death.

The unanimous jury verdict in the case answered these questions for the family, clearly establishing that Covel was not at fault. In addition, the jury found by clear and convincing evidence that Rodriguez Transportes acted in reckless disregard for the rights of Covel.

"We were only there to find the truth and the jury saw it so plainly that they awarded us a unanimous decision," Toby Keith said.

The plaintiffs in the case were Covel's wife, Carolyn Covel, his daughter, Tonni Covel and sons Toby Keith Covel and Tracey Covel.

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Drinks After Work CD review - Drinks After Work
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Hope on the Rocks CD review - Hope on the Rocks
For most of the 2000s, Toby Keith albums have been predictable and quite honestly pretty boring. Keith's latest again is predictable, but this time around it's anything but dull. Perhaps it's the pared down selection of just 10 cuts, allowing Keith to cull and produce the best that he's written. His themes stomp through familiar turf - cold beer, curvy girls, curvy girls who drink cold beer - but there's a more convincing vibe from start to finish. »»»
Bullets in the Gun CD review - Bullets in the Gun
Toby Keith is back with his annual release, once again delivering a record stocked with blue collar scenarios and tales of life. While his songs do paint a picture, at times they lack the refreshing desire of something fresh and new. The record opens with the title cut co-written by Rivers Rutherford. This song tells a story, but leaves the feeling of having heard it before. Think Robert Earl Keen and mix in the Cliff Note version of Townes Van Zandt's Pancho & Lefty, without the compelling saga. »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: No wonder life is good for Shovels & Rope – Things are go swimmingly - pun intended - for Shovels & Rope, the South Carolina-based duo comprised of husband-and-wife Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent. For starters, their new disc, "Swimmin' Time," debuted at 21 on the Billboard Top 200 in its first week just a few shot weeks ago. On the local front, the band was playing two... »»»
Concert Review: Americana fest moves beyond borders – It's the final night of the 2014 Americana Festival and Conference, and the final event of a spectacular five-day run. Lucinda Williams is about to begin a last minute invitation-only performance at the newly opened City Winery in Nashville, but first, Americana Music Association Executive Director Jed Hilly walks to the microphone.... »»»
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