$1 Million Suit Filed in Bend Hit-And-Run Death
Updated On: Sep 29 2011 05:23:55 AM CDT
The sister of a man struck and killed walking across Third Street with his bike last January filed a wrongful death lawsuit Wednesday against the man arrested in the case, seeking more than $1 million in damages.
An attorney for Teresa Gibbs, representing the estate of Anthony Martin, filed the lawsuit Wednesday morning in Deschutes County Circuit Court against Bret Lee Biedscheid.
The suit comes just over a week after a six-hour settlement conference Sept. 20 failed to lead to a negotiated plea in Martin?s death. Biedscheid, 38, then pleaded not guilty to hit-and-run and criminally negligent homicide charges, and a trial date was set for next January, about a year after his death.
Martin, 47, was walking across Third Street in northeast Bend with his bike when he was struck and killed.
Two days later, Biedscheid?s Portland attorney, Stephen Houze, turned Biedscheid?s truck over to police. Police documents showed they found traces of a red, ?blood-like? substance on the white pickup, which also had a broken front headlight.
?At the end of this, I just want to see some justice,? Gibbs, a Madras resident, told NewsChannel 21 Wednesday after the lawsuit was filed.
Her attorney, Tom D?Amore, who has offices in Bend and the Portland area, said, ?The question always is, what can you do with a wrongful death case??
?Unfortunately, all we can do is get money for the family and hopefully make a better life for this young girl,? the 2-year-old daughter he left behind, D?Amore said.
Gibbs said, "It's going to be very tough, explaining to his daughter why she doesn't have a father to watch her grow up."
Asked why the civil lawsuit was filed while the criminal case is still pending, D?Amore said there also had been private talks aimed at resolving the potential civil case, which also proved fruitless.
?We have waited a long time, and there was a potential settlement, to where the civil thing could have been resolved altogether,? he said, ?That fell through because the defense wanted to make it contingent on these criminal charges.?
The lawsuit said Biedscheid?s 2008 GMC pickup was heading south on Third Street and struck Martin on Jan. 26, narrowly missing another pedestrian. The crash caused ?catastrophic and fatal injuries,? it said, while Biedscheid ?did not stop his vehicle to assist? Martin ?and left the scene of the crime and avoided criminal authorities for two days.?
The five-page lawsuit accuses Biedscheid of negligence for driving drunk and ?at an excessive rate of speed given the conditions.? It also lists several of Martin's injuries, including skull fractures and hemorrhaging.
It seeks $505,000 in economic damages, to cover ?funeral, burial and related services, and loss of earning capacity,? and compensation "In an amount which a jury decides is fair" in non-economic losses ?including but not limited to loss of the society, companionship and services? of Martin. The total damages sought exceed $1 million, the lawsuit stated.
"Justice would be fantastic, closure to myself and my sons, and his daughter," Gibbs said.
D'Amore also reserved the right to amend the complaint and add a claim for punitive damages.
Calls to Biedscheid, his lawyer and their insurance attorney were not returned Wednesday.
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