|Details yet to be released; judge must approve agreement|
Friday, February 21, 2014
By KEN BRADLEY - Staff Writer
A settlement has been reached in a lawsuit connected to the 2010 fire truck crash that killed two volunteer firefighters.
Tony Russell, a Roanoke lawyer representing the plaintiff, Christie Altice-Weaver, in the lawsuit, said Wednesday the lawsuit has been settled.
"The lawsuit has been settled and a hearing date of March 3 at noon has been set," he said.
At the hearing, Judge W.N. Alexander II will accept or reject the settlement.
Volunteer firefighters Posey Dillon, 59, and William "Danny" Altice, 67, were killed when the fire truck driven by Dillon collided with an SUV, driven by Terri Anne Valentine, at the intersection of Route 40 East and School Board Road.
The fire truck struck the curb and rolled several times, ejecting both firefighters.
Altice-Weaver, the daughter of Danny Altice and executor of his estate, sued Valentine and Dillon's estate, represented by Dillon's wife, Ann. The lawsuit alleged that Valentine's and Dillon's negligence caused the death of Danny Altice and sought $2 million in damages.
In September, a jury found Valentine negligent in the crash and awarded Altice-Weaver $9,984.37 for the funeral expenses.
In December, however, Alexander said money should also have been awarded to Altice's son, daughter and granddaughter for pain and suffering because of his death, and the judge ordered a new trial for July 28. However, Alexander said Valentine's liability, which had already been established in the first trial, would stand.
The Virginia State Police investigation determined that Valentine had a green light and the fire truck slowed at the intersection but did not stop. No charges were filed against Valentine.
Witnesses testified in September that Valentine entered the intersection on a green light and struck the rear back side of the fire truck, pushing the fire truck into the curb, causing the fire truck to roll three times before it came to a halt on the hood of another vehicle.
The same jury found in favor of Dillon's estate in September, finding no negligence on his part in the crash.
Alexander said in December that he erred in the earlier trial by not allowing more specific testimony by an expert witness in the case against the Dillon estate.
Russell declined to comment on the terms of the settlement. However, the Code of Virginia requires the details of a wrongful death suit be made public.