The city of Columbia, Mo., will pay $1.4 million to settle a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the family of a man who was killed in 2010 after he crashed his motorcycle into a city bus. The city reached the settlement with the family of Michael Heaston, 34, who died a day after his Harley-Davidson struck the side of a city bus on a city street. The lawsuit alleged that the city bus driver, Archie Smith Jr., was careless and negligent during the operation of the bus.
Smith was driving southbound on one street when he attempted to make a left-hand turn onto the eastbound lane of another street on July 12, 2010. The bus driver told investigators that he stopped at the stop sign, but did not see Heaston when he pulled out. The bus driver said he then heard a screeching sound and a loud bang before looking to his left and seeing the man on the road.
Smith was convicted of careless and imprudent driving for his involvement and was sentenced to six months in the Boone County Jail. The execution of the sentence was suspended in exchange for two years of unsupervised probation. Columbia’s Transit Safety Committee also reviewed evidence and has assessed points to the driver’s record. The committee’s investigation and penalty phase, pursuant to Federal Transit Administration regulations, determined the accident to be preventable. Heaston, a father of three, had attempted to swerve and avoid the collision when the bike struck the side of the bus. The Columbia law firm of Harper, Evans Wade and Netemeyer represented the family and did a very good job in the civil case.
Source: Columbia Tribune
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