Lawsuit filed in parade crash


GREENVILLE — The couple injured during the Versailles Poultry Days Grand Parade and the parents of injured children have filed a suit against the tractor driver and the event organizers in Darke County Common Pleas Court Civil Division.

The lawsuit, filed Nov. 6, names Thomas and Kathryn Hamilton, of Greenville, along with their minor grandchildren Aiden and Carson, and the children’s parents, Nick and Linda Hamilton, all of Greenville, as plaintiffs in the case.

They are suing Versailles Poultry Days Inc. (VPDI)and Elbert G. Wilhelm, of Piqua, for negligence and infliction of emotional distress for an unspecified amount of compensatory damages exceeding $75,000.

The suit states that VPDI “inviting children and adults to sit or stand along streets in close proximity to where VPDI permitted motorized vehicles to operate in a parade presented a known, foreseeable and obvious risk to those pedestrians.”

The suit also charges that VPDI invited the 82-year-old Wilhelm to drive in the parade without inspecting his tractor and when they “knew or should have known” that Wilhelm had a “propensity” to rev and gun the engine of the tractor to cause it to “jump.” The Hamiltons charge that not only should Poultry Days organizers have known Wilhelm was likely to drive in this manner, they were also negligent in not stopping such behavior immediately after witnessing it earlier in the parade before the crash occurred, and they should have warned paradegoers that this practice was occurring in the parade.

By not admonishing Wilhelm and not warning those attending the parade, the suit charges the organizers with a failure to exercise ordinary care and with “conscious disregard or indifference to foreseeable and obvious” risk of harm.

Thomas and Kathryn Hamilton, and their grandchildren Aiden and Carson Hamilton, were injured on June 13 while watching the Grand Parade during Versailles Poultry Days when parade participant Elbert G. Wilhelm lost control of his tractor, sending it into the crowd lining the parade route.

Wilhelm was charged with failure to control and later pleaded guilty to the charge.

The Hamiltons are represented by Cincinnati attorney Gary E. Becker. The Hamiltons declined to comment to the newspaper because of the pending litigation.

By Rachel Lloyd

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Reach the writer at 937-569-4354 or on Twitter @RachelLloydGDA. Join the conversation at or visit our website at

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