Missouri Motorcycle Accident Results in $1.4M Wrongful Death Settlement

The family of a Missouri man killed when his motorcycle struck a city bus in Columbia, Missouri will receive $1.4 million as part of a wrongful death settlement

The City of Columbia agreed to the settlement last month with the family of Michael Heaston, 34, who died on July 13, 2010, a day after running into the side of a city bus trying to make a left-hand turn. The lawsuit accused the driver, Archie Smith Jr., of negligence.

The accident between the motorcycle and bus occurred on July 12, when Smith tried to turn left into the eastbound lane of Vandiver. According to the driver, he stopped at a stop sign but failed to see Heaston. Smith reports having heard the impact and seeing Heaston lying in the street, but never saw the motorcycle coming.

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Heaston, investigators say, swerved to avoid the bus which suddenly cut into his path, but failed avoid the collision.

Smith was convicted of careless and imprudent driving and is serving two years of probation after having a six month jail sentence suspended. Because he stopped at a stop sign first he was not charged with involuntary manslaughter, which requires criminal negligence.

An investigation by the Columbia Transit Safety Committee determined that the accident was preventable.

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