Pedi-Cab Accident Update

Author: bcrawford
06.26.14

There is an item scheduled to be quietly approved via the “Consent Agenda” at the Scottsdale City Council meeting on July 02, 2014. I am urging you to take notice. At the very least, I believe this matter should be publicly heard and discussed by the Council.
 
Cody Clark and Michael Tysver were two visitors from Kansas who came to watch the Fiesta Bowl. On January 04, 2013 they boarded a pedi-cab and were run down on Scottsdale Road by a drunk driver. They received critical injuries. Mr. Clark may spend the rest of his life in a skilled nursing facility. I believe these boys had a presumption that the transportation was regulated and safe.
 
For many months, Mr. Clark convalesced in Maricopa County Hospital. I don’t think anyone from the City ever reached out to him or his family.
 
I had warned Scottsdale leadership on numerous occasions prior to this tragedy that the pedi-cab situation was dangerous and needed regulation. I predicted it was only a matter of time before a catastrophic accident occurred. My warnings were ignored.
 
After this terrible crash, a reactive (not proactive) City Council belatedly passed an ordinance regulating pedi-cabs, making a repeat tragedy highly unlikely.
 
The law firm representing Mr. Clark, one of the victims, took my deposition in this case. The City’s attorney hired a private investigator to investigate me regarding my testimony. The City also hired an outside law firm who was present at my deposition and repeatedly challenged my testimony.
 
I believe other defendants in the case have settled with the injured parties. However, the City of Scottsdale has refused to admit guilt or settle. Some experts think the City has little or no chance of prevailing in this case.
 
According to a City Council report, the City has already spent $75,000.00 on outside legal fees with the firm of Struck Wieneke & Love. Not one cent has gone to the injured party. Now the City is quietly asking for $275,000 for additional legal fees to pay Struck Wieneke & Love.  Why aren’t they using City attorneys, whose salaries are already in the City budget?
 
Why is this item on the July 02, 2014 City Council Consent Agenda without any public discussion and no public comment? This tragic occurrence was well covered in the press. The City attorney's office has deemed "No public involvement necessary".  Since it’s our money and our City, I think public involvement is necessary.
 
Rumor has it that the City has been offered a settlement. What is it? Does the City Council even know if there is in fact a settlement offer?  Has the Council knowingly decided not to accept the settlement offer?  Have they knowingly decided to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars more litigating instead of settling?  It should also be noted, the City has significant insurance coverage in this matter.
 
One thing is certain. If the laws on the books now would have been on the books on January 04, 2013; this tragedy likely wouldn’t have happened.  I believe it’s time for the City to pony up and do the right thing for these kids who were Scottsdale’s guests.
 
July 02, 2014 Scottsdale City Council Meeting Consent Agenda Item: http://www.scottsdaleaz.gov/Asset54187.aspx
 
Bill Crawford

 

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