Man, city settle street-sweeper suit

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Gazette staff
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
— A Janesville resident who claimed he was almost run down by a runaway city street sweeper has settled with the city for $16,336.

The settlement recently was reached with the help of a mediator. A trial had been scheduled for Nov. 2.

According to the civil complaint, Kevin B. Speich of 1129 E. Milwaukee St. sustained head and neck injuries when he jumped out of the way to avoid the street sweeper June 18, 2007. The street sweeper also damaged his garage, contents and landscaping, the complaint states.

According to the accident report, the vehicle’s driver, Dennis L. Schultz, put it in park to move an abandoned bicycle in the street.

When he put the bike inside the street sweeper, it put pressure on the gas pedal, causing the street sweeper to jump the curb. It struck a tree and hit the garage, narrowly avoiding vehicles parked inside, Speich said at the time.

The complaint says Schultz was negligent in operating the street sweeper and the city was negligent in failing to maintain the sweeper and failing to train the driver.

The complaint asked for reimbursement for Speich’s injuries and damage to his property, attorney fees “and any other relief deemed by the court to be just and equitable.”

Speich filed a claim with the city in October, saying he suffered “severe, ongoing and potentially permanent injury to his neck and right hip.” The claim sought nearly $34,000 in damages, including:

-- $4,000 for medical expenses.

-- $20,000 for pain, suffering and potential partial disability.

-- $7,000 for damage to his garage.

-- $650 for damage to his fence.

-- $2,000 for damage to landscaping.

The claim said Speich’s injuries still were being treated and future medical expenses had not been determined.

The city is self-insured up to $75,000, so will pay the settlement.

Jay Winzenz, assistant city manager, said the city investigated the original incident and appropriate discipline was given to the employee at that time. The discipline is a personnel matter.

The city through Oct. 9 had spent about $35,500 on attorney’s fees, he said. Renee Read of Feingold & Read represented Speich, and James Fowler represented the city.

Last updated: 11:52 am Thursday, December 13, 2012

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