The parents of a 19-year-old Lawrence woman who died in a 2010 crash in west Lawrence have reached a $100,000 settlement with the insurance carrier for the other driver involved, a 23-year-old Overland Park man, according to Douglas County court records.
Lawrence attorney James Wisler earlier this month filed a petition asking a Douglas County judge to approve the settlement between his client, Cecilia Paez, mother of Mary Grace Paez, who died in the Oct. 14, 2010, crash, and Geico Insurance, carrier for the other driver, Sean Barrett Walker. Paez’s father, Vincent Paez, would also receive part of the settlement, according to the filing.
Lawrence police have said Paez died when her Nissan Sentra that was southbound on Inverness Drive was struck by a 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by Sean B. Walker, 23, of Overland Park, that was headed west on Clinton Parkway at 1:30 a.m. that day.
Investigators at the time of the accident said they believed Paez made a complete stop at a flashing red light when she pulled into the intersection and the Jeep entered the intersection on a flashing yellow light. Walker was treated at the scene for a head injury.
The proposed civil settlement comes as Douglas County prosecutors are still reviewing whether to file criminal charges against Walker, who is currently serving a prison sentence for a probation violation in an unrelated 2006 Johnson County attempted robbery and battery case, according to the Kansas Department of Corrections and Johnson County court records. Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson said Monday the 2010 accident was still under investigation.
A key piece of evidence will be blood-alcohol test results for Walker, which have not yet been made public. However in one police report, Officer Shawn Gross, who was first on the scene, wrote he observed Walker “staggering around” after Walker got out of his vehicle. Gross also wrote that he observed Walker’s eyes were “bloodshot, droopy and glazed” and that he observed a moderate odor of an alcoholic beverage on Walker’s breath.
Gross also said Walker’s speech was slurred. Walker refused all field sobriety tests and a request to submit to a blood test, so Gross obtained a warrant from Chief District Judge Robert Fairchild. A Lawrence Memorial Hospital phlebotomist drew Walker’s blood two hours after the crash, according to Gross’ report.
Gross just before the accident had completed a U-turn in the intersection and was headed east on Clinton Parkway when he heard a loud collision followed by the squealing of vehicle tires.
The toxicology report for Paez, a 2010 Lawrence High School graduate, was negative for alcohol and drugs, according to her autopsy report.
Fairchild has scheduled a settlement hearing in the civil case for Dec. 5.