LIBERTY — The widow of the man gunned down in September as he worked at Tarter Gate Co. has filed a lawsuit against three of the men charged in the killing along with the gate manufacturer and 11 other Tarter-owned enterprises.
Tina Pyles filed the complaint Tuesday in Casey Circuit Court alleging that William Rigdon of Lebanon, David Salyers of Campbellsville and Anthony Byrd of Dunnville acted intentionally, wantonly and recklessly in causing the death of Wendell Gleason Pyles on Sept. 26.
“The intentional, wanton, reckless, grossly negligent and negligent actors of defendant Tarter Gate are a direct and proximate cause of the death,” the lawsuit states.
None of the defendants has yet responded to allegations in the complaint. Tarter representatives could not be reached for comment.
According to testimony and court records in the murder case, Salyers was long upset with Pyles over a debt and also the way Pyles quit the Iron Horsemen motorcycle gang, of which Salyers was president of the local chapter. Salyers allegedly enlisted the help of Rigdon, and the two men traveled to the Tarter facility in Dunnville on the night of Sept. 26.
Earlier in the day, Salyers had contacted Byrd, his brother-in-law, who was a maintenance supervisor at Tarter’s and Pyles’ boss, police said. Byrd provided Salyers with information about Pyles’ work schedule and whereabouts, according to testimony.
Rigdon approached Pyles as he worked alone fixing a conveyor system and shot him three times as he tried to flee through a parking lot, police said.
A Tarter security guard working in another area of the operation heard the gunshots and arrived to find Pyles’ body. The watchman also saw a dust trail kicked up by a vehicle as it was leaving the parking lot, police said.
Rigdon is charged with murder, Salyers is charged with complicity, and Byrd is charged with criminal facilitation. A trial date has not yet been set.
According to Tina Pyles’ lawsuit, Tarter had a duty to provide protection for Pyles as he worked.
The companies are also “vicariously liable” for Byrd’s alleged role in the killing because he was a Tarter employee and agent “acting in the furtherance of the business of Tarter Gate,”¿the complaint maintains.
The lawsuit, filed by Jamestown attorney Derrick Helm, seeks an unspecified amount of damages for Pyles’ pain and suffering, the loss of his ability to earn wages in the future, the loss of consortium and companionship to his wife and children, and funeral expenses.