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home : news : local   February 5, 2016

1/30/2013 7:30:00 AM
Lawsuit filed against convicted 'skunk' shooter


Tom Collins
NewsTribune Senior Reporter



OTTAWA — The man convicted of firing a .22-caliber rifle at what he thought was a skunk faces a big lawsuit when he gets out of jail.

Tuesday, injured cyclist John Bowne of Mendota filed a five-count lawsuit against Thomas Divan, who is serving 60 days in La Salle County Jail for shooting Bowne in the hand.

Bowne told police he was repairing his bicycle Sept. 30 in a ditch on Route 251 in Mendota when he sustained the gunshot. He was treated and released from Mendota Community Hospital.

Authorities later concluded that Divan saw only Bowne’s black-and-white riding helmet above the lip of the ditch and mistook the helmet for a skunk. Divan, who told police he’d had a few drinks before firing the shot, later pleaded guilty to felony reckless discharge of a firearm.

Now, Bowne wants Divan to pay him at least $50,000 — the lawsuit alleges negligence and battery — and also wants Wal-Mart to pay damages for selling Divan the alcohol he drank before firing.

“John suffered both physical and psychological problems from the shooting,” said Mendota attorney David Kaleel, who filed Tuesday’s lawsuit. “The physical injuries and emotional trauma from being shot is pretty severe.”

The case is assigned to La Salle County Circuit Judge Joseph P. Hettel. Court dates are pending.

Divan was unavailable for comment.

Wal-Mart spokesman Randy Hargrove issued the following statement: “We are committed to selling alcohol responsibly in the communities we serve. We have not seen the complaint, and this is the first we’ve heard of these allegations. Because we have not seen the lawsuit, we are unable to comment on it.”

Tom Collins can be reached at (815) 220-6930 or courtreporter@newstrib.com.












Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, February 3, 2013
Article comment by: METALWORKER

Was he drunk? Yhe shooter. How many did ht have? The shooter.
Did, does. Walmart have Dramshop ins? Does their liabi. end when the purchaser leaves the prem.
Wow. is the vict. respon. for med bills, lost wages, pain and suffering?
Tell me please. would you two have just let it go and said, oh well, S%$#@ happens? Or maybe you are just wanting regulations relaxed so you can go out in your yard and fire aweapon any direction you want and if you happen ti hit someone only get a 60 day sentance. To little Way to little.
Teo yrars commun. service alomg with a year in jail and taking of all fire arms and fire adm owners permit would have been , not nearly enough.
Owning a gun may be your right where you fire it is a privlage.
HOW CAN YOU BLAME THE VICTOM????


Posted: Thursday, January 31, 2013
Article comment by: CRobinson

More lawyers on a 'fishing' trip.

Posted: Thursday, January 31, 2013
Article comment by: Anonymous63831

I felt bad for the victim in this story.. Until I saw the WalMart lawsuit bit.

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