Posted by Gary Burger on September 19, 2018
We represent the family of Finely Felty. I regret I did now know him before his death. We represent his widow, Dorothy, and have now completed the case.
I am not at liberty to disclose the amount of the settlement. But the story of his demise and how we ensured all the many liens in the case were resolved bears telling.
Finley was a tractor trailer driver, as was the driver who killed him, Handrijono Oetomo. They were traveling in opposite directions in on Interstate 20 west of Dallas Texas.
Oetomo crossed the median into the westbound lane of Interstate 20. He was struck by Finley’s tractor and came to rest facing east in the ditch. Here’s the police diagram – Finley is in unit 3 and 4.
Finley had little or no time to react. This skid marks indicated that he moved a little bit to the left to try to avoid the trailer and smashed the front of his trailer into the back passenger side of the trailer.
We hired an expert and the defendant did as well. I traveled to Dallas to inspect the vehicles. The black box or ECM data from both vehicles do not provide any information about the crash.
Oetomo drove at excessive speed for the circumstances and on the wrong side of the road. He may have also been driving too close to vehicles in front of him which may have prompted him to turn to the left.
The defendant tested the brakes of Finley’s vehicle and found them in disrepair. They tried to put fault on Finley for this. However, we were able to show repair reports showing he had his brakes repaired within a month before the crash in New Mexico.
We also had a good claim against Oetomo’s employer, Cargo Solutions. They negligently hired Oetomo. Why? He did a similar thing the year before and killed someone else.
They must have known he killed Wanda Huddleston on February 17, 2016 when he was on the wrong side of the road in Lindale, Texas. They settled that claim for $1.4 Million four months before Oetomo killed Finley.
Oetomo fled the United States, likely because of the two people he has killed while driving. He shouldn’t be on our roads.
Another part of this story is the hard work we did in resolving all liens in the case. We insisted that any recovery in the case would not be reduced by property damage claims to the tow tractor and trailers, loss of the cargo and Finley’s work comp benefits.
As I have always said, the extra work in reducing and eliminating liens does as much good for a family as the settlement number from the defendant in the first place.