Dutchess County Found at Fault in $14.5 Million Verdict
A jury has slapped Dutchess County with a hefty verdict in a near-deadly crash that seriously injured a 17-year-old.
The finding says that Dutchess County officials dropped the ball when it comes to road safety and keeping residents safe.
According to the New York Post, Easton Gregory was riding in the back seat of a car when a 17-year-old driver ran a stop sign at Rockefeller Lane and Rt. 79 in Red Hook. Gregory, who was 23 at the time, was wearing a seatbelt but still sustained life-threatening injuries. He had 12 fractured ribs, punctured lungs and lost his thumb.
History of Complaints About "Dangerous" Intersection
It turns out that the intersection had been on the community's radar for years before the accident. Residents have been sounding the alarm about the potential hazard since 2007, demanding a traffic study and petitioning to turn the intersection into a four-way stop.
Even though they repeatedly alerted to what some were calling "an accident waiting to happen," A jury found that Dutchess County did nothing to investigate the intersection or take the warnings seriously.
Dutchess County Ordered to Pay Millions by Jury
Because jurors placed some of the responsibility for the accident on the inaction of Dutchess County officials, Gregory was awarded $14.5M. The driver was liable for a portion of the settlement, leaving Dutchess County to pay $6.5 Million.
In a statement obtained by the New York Post, Gregory's attorney, John Nash, said the verdict serves as a warning to other municipalities.
The jurors placed the responsibility on the County in this instance, and I hope it sends a message to transportation departments across the state.
The intersection at Rockefeller Lane and Rt. 79 still has not been changed to a four-way stop.
Discovering Red Hook New York
Gallery Credit: Paty Quyn