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Arizona Bike Race, County Settle Crash Suit

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By Tanya Roth, Esq. on November 02, 2010 6:58 AM

Nearly two years after the actual accident, another case stemming from a terrible traffic collision during the "El Tour de Tucson" bike race has been settled. Racer Gary Stuebe was one of the riders hit when an elderly driver collided with the bikers in November of 2008. Stuebe, who suffered a life threatening brain injury, has settled his suit for $3.5 million.

The Arizona Daily Star reports the accident that hurt Stuebe and the others occurred on November 22, 2008, when William Wilson, then 91, made a turn which plowed his vehicle into 10 riders. Stuebe and others suffered a variety of injuries. The cyclists sued Wilson, Pima County, race organizers, and the officers who were directing traffic at the scene of the accident. Wilson surrendered his license before he was sentenced to three years of probation for leaving the scene of an accident.

The Star reports that all of the racers previously settled their suits with Wilson. The County also settled all but one, which is set to go to trial November 2. Pima County taxpayers will be interested to learn that they are not footing the entire bill.

According to The Star, the county is usually responsible for the first $2 million of a damage award in a case like Gary Stuebe's. However, since race organizers (the Perimeter Bicycling Association) prudently took out a $2 million dollar event liability type of insurance policy, the county's payment will be covered. The remaining amount will also be covered by insurance.

The race organizers, like any other event organizer, were smart to ensure their insurance policy would be applicable to, and large enough, to give at least some coverage for accidents. Special events such as concerts, festivals and sporting events should have event liability insurance for just this kind of occurrence.

The money awarded to Gary Stuebe will help him with the expenses he will carry for the rest of his life. The Star reports that in the accident, Stuebe suffered damage to the frontal and temporal lobes of his brain which required that he have portions of his brain removed. He spent 40 days in a coma and now suffers from epilepsy as a result of the crash.

"Gary has a lot of challenges, but the settlements give him a secure financial future," Stuebe's attorney Stephen Leshner told The Star.

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