$2.7M Settlement in N.Y. Minivan Crash that Killed 7

A $2.7 million settlement has been reached for the sole survivor and the estates of seven victims who were killed when a runaway truck trailer struck the minivan they were riding in on a New York state highway in 2013.

The crash, which happened May 29, 2013, killed seven people, including four children, when the trailer of a tractor-trailer separated from the truck’s tractor and veered into the path of a Dodge minivan that was traveling on Route 13 in Cortland County, N.Y., according to a July 15 story on Syracuse.com.

Shawn Mead, who survived the crash, was in the front passenger seat of the minivan when the runaway truck trailer careened across the road and struck the vehicle, the story reported. Killed in the crash were his two children, Alyssa Mead, 7, and Tyler Mead, 4, as well as his girlfriend, Teresa Bush, and her two children, Alexis Bush, 4, and Jasmine Bush, 5. Also killed in the minivan were Teresa Bush’s cousin, Lena Beckwith, and Beckwith’s fiancé, Carino VanOrden, who was driving the minivan when it was struck, the story reported.

After an investigation, Cortland County sheriff’s investigators determined that a broken locking mechanism on the tractor part of the rig caused the crash, according to the story. Evidence from the crash scene showed that VanOrden “tried to avoid the unhinged trailer at the last second,” according to a Cortland County accident-reconstruction report that was reviewed by the paper.

The loaded tractor-trailer was carrying 78,000 pounds of crushed vehicles, the story reported.

Mead, 33, of Cortland, suffered two fractured ribs, a ruptured spleen, multiple injuries to his legs, glass in his eyes, multiple cuts and bruises and other medical and psychological issues due to the crash, according to the story. He has been unable to return to work since the crash.

Mead will receive a $1.4 million settlement in the case, while the remaining $1.3 million will go to the estates of the seven people who were killed, the story reported. The estates of the three adults will get $208,000 each, while the estates of the four children will get $164,000 each under the terms of the settlement.

The driver of the tractor-trailer, then-26-year-old Ryan C. Dorward, had made safety checks of the rig before driving it that day, the story reported. Insurance carriers for Dorward and for the owner of the truck’s tractor, Duane Newton, who was a passenger in the rig at the time of the crash, will pay $1 million of the settlement. Several insurers for the owners of the trailer, Ben Weitsman and Son, are paying a combined $1.5 million of the settlement. Five other defendants will pay about $222,000, the story reported, while another $28,000 will be paid by insurance companies for VanOrden and for Shawn Mead, who owned the minivan.

These kinds of tragic legal cases occur every day when innocent victims are severely hurt or killed in vehicle crashes through no fault of their own due to the actions, inattentiveness or indifference of others. That’s why it is critical to have a legal team on your side that uncovers every fact to bolster your case and maximize your damage award.

We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in a vehicle incident or accident anywhere in the United States. We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.

Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-227-2727 or toll-free at 1-866-920-0352 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.

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