In 2008, 91-year-old William Wilson turned his car to pull into the Westward Look Resort in Tucson, Arizona in front of bicyclists in the middle of a race. 10 of those cyclists ran into Wilson’s car, many of them suffering injuries. One cyclist, Gary Steube, suffered a severe traumatic brain injury and remained in a coma for 40 days. Wilson reportedly drove away from the scene of the accident, leaving five injured bicyclists in his wake.
Wilson later pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and was sentenced to three years of probation, an Arizona Daily Star article reports. Wilson’s lawyer, Michael Bloom, said that Wilson left the scene of the accident in fear after other angry bicyclists began shouting obscenities at the man.
All five bicyclists filed suit against Wilson, with Stuebe’s wife filing in place of her brain-injured husband. The lawsuits against Wilson were all settled for an unspecified amount of compensation earlier this year, the article reports. The plaintiffs also filed suit against the organizers of the bicycle tour and the county police officers, Sheriff Clarence Dupnik and police deputy Muriel McGillicuddy, who were responsible for controlling the traffic at the scene of the accident.
Tour organizers, Perimeter Bicycling Association of America, had taken out a $2 million insurance policy to cover the event. That insurance will cover the county’s part of Stuebe’s $3.5 million settlement. Another insurance policy will cover the rest of the costs. Three of the other four injured cyclists have also settled their cases with the county. Don English, the final injured cyclist in the case, will go to trial on November 2, 2010.
Foster, Bud. (December 19, 2008) “91 year old man Identified and Charged in El Tour Accident.” Retrieved on October 21, 2010 from KOLD News 13.
KVOA News Staff. (October 19, 2010) “El Tour de Tucson injury lawsuit nears settlement.” Retrieved on October 21, 2010 from KVOA News.
Smith, Kim. (October 19, 2010) “El Tour, county settle lawsuit over ’08 crash.” Retrieved on October 21, 2010 from the Arizona Daily Star.