Lawsuit filed in fatal Olivette Starbucks crash – Stats show surprising reasons for similar crashes

FOX Files
This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

OLIVETTE, Mo. – The October 3rd fatal Starbucks crash wasn’t the first time a car went through that location’s storefront, according to a new civil lawsuit.  The lawsuit also names the driver, a Washington University professor emeritus in the Department of Psychiatry.

It was 78-year-old Theodore J. Cicero who reportedly crashed through the front of the Olivette Starbucks.  Cicero did not answer an email or phone call to his Washington University office, but he must answer the Department of Revenue whose office said, “A qualified individual (family member, doctor, law enforcement, etc.) notified our department that he may not be able to safely and responsibly operate a motor vehicle. We sent him notification and now he has to retest.” He has until November 5th.

Glenda Simmons

Widower Joseph Simmons is suing the driver for the wrongful death of his wife, Glenda Simmons. She went inside to get a latte after their trip to McDonald’s.  Joseph watched as a car jumped the curb and crashed through the glass storefront, killing his wife.

A civil lawsuit, just filed, also names the strip mall developer, Keat Properties, saying “This was not the first storefront crash at this Starbucks. Sometime after price crossing opened in 2006, a vehicle… crashed through its glass storefront…. (the driver) mistakenly put the vehicle in drive rather than reverse as she was attempting to back out of the parking spot in front of the store, a common error in these types of crashes.”

Attorney Rich Zalasky, with Brown and Crouppen, filed the lawsuit on behalf of his client Joseph Simmons.

Zalasky asked, “How many times does this have to happen when you have people dying?  And the numbers that are dying and the numbers injured each year.  More than 60 times a day in the United States this occurs, up to 500 fatalities & over 4000 injured in the United States each year from store front crashes.”

He got his numbers from the Storefront Safety Council which found with “vehicle-into-building crashes”

  • 51% of are caused by either operator error or pedal error
  • 16% from DUI
  • 10%” from a traffic accident.

It was a traffic accident that police say led to the October 5th North County crash into a tax business. A possible DUI led to Sunday’s fatal crash into a Ballwin urgent care.

Zalasky said bollards can save lives.  He says he even found bollards behind the Starbucks where his client’s wife died.  He added, “There are bollards there for good reason.”

Keat Properties, had no comment when we called its headquarters.  The Starbucks remains boarded up as people continue leaving flowers in memory of 73-year-old Glenda Simmons.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

About the FOX Files

The Fox Files are groundbreaking investigations you won’t see anywhere else. The series is well known for breaking the Pam Hupp story nationally. The reports that led to the exoneration of Russ Faria. But, it is far from the only time in which our investigations led to overturned convictions and freedom for the wrongfully accused. The Fox Files investigations do not fit into just one category, other than the fact our reports shine a light on issues and corruption in ways you won’t see anywhere else.

You won’t know what to expect as our reports often take twists that surprise even Fox Files investigator Chris Hayes.

“You never know where the truth will lead and you have to keep searching for it, even when you think you might be done,” Hayes said.

From getting arrested for trying to cover a public meeting, to getting law enforcement involved in his report about a daycare fight club, the Fox Files has been at the forefront of breaking news investigations in the St. Louis area.

It doesn’t stop just in St. Louis. The Pam Hupp/Russ Faria story took him to Lincoln County. Fox 2 was the first to report, nationally, on the synthetic drug epidemic when it began in St. Charles County, MO. In St. Louis County, our Fox Files reporting led to the dismantling of some police departments, including the departments of Uplands Park and Jennings. And in the City of St. Louis, our investigations led to swift government actions, such as our report that led to the Governor’s ordered shut down of a daycare.

Our reporting in St. Louis also led to former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens’ exclusive Fox Files interviews involving his court fight to oust the chief prosecutor while attempting to prove that political corruption led to an illegal overturning of a state election.

“It’s not always bad news,” Hayes said about a recent victory for a restaurant in his coverage of a St. Clair County Illinois issue. A Fox Files report, exposing a health department’s mistake over the COVID-19 pandemic, led to an overturning of a decision, allowing the business to open for limited inside dining.

Another investigation took us to Madison County, where prosecutors praised Fox 2’s coverage while shutting down an illegal synthetic drug business – and to Monroe County, where we uncovered key evidence in the Chris Coleman murder trial.

Even the national media, continues reaching out to local affiliate Fox 2 KTVI and the Fox Files, for its work on cases that are important to St. Louis. When you see a network television’s coverage of St. Louis, you’ll often see that they gathered information that was first uncovered right here.

About FOX 2 News

FOX 2 and KPLR 11 in St. Louis cover the news in Missouri and Illinois. There are over 68 hours of live news and local programming on-air each week. Our website and live video streams operate 24/7. Download our apps for alerts and follow us on social media for updates in your feed.

President Harry Truman said: “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” That spirit is alive and well at Fox 2. Our teamwork is on display each and every day.

Our news slogan is: “Coverage You Can Count On.” We quite frankly are too busy to worry about who gets the credit. Our main concern is serving the viewer.

We go where the stories take us. Whether it be Washington, D.C when a Belleville man opened fire during a congressional baseball game practice or to Puerto Rico where local Ameren crews restored power after more than 5 months in the dark.

Coverage You Can Count On means “Waking up your Day” with our top-rated morning show. From 4:00 am-10:00 am we are leading the way with breaking news. But our early morning crew also knows how to have some fun! Our strong commitment to the communities we serve is highlighted with our Friday neighborhood shows.

Our investigative unit consists of three reporters. Elliott Davis focuses on government waste, Chris Hayes is our investigative reporter, and Mike Colombo is our consumer reporter. They work in unison with the news department by sharing resources and ideas.

We continue to cover breaking news aggressively and relied on our seasoned journalists to make a difference with the stories we covered. The shooting of Arnold Police Officer Ryan O’Connor is just one example of that. Jasmine Huda was the only reporter who had exclusive access to the O’Connor family during his amazing rehabilitation in Colorado.

Last, but certainly not least, FOX 2 and KPLR 11 are committed to covering local politics. We host debates among candidates and have the most extensive presidential election coverage. Our commitment to politics isn’t just during an election year. We produce two political shows that air every weekend.


Latest News

More News