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Man injured by tipping semitrailer gets $1.4 million settlement

One year after a semi-truck's rear trailer detached and toppled onto William Geary's Chevy Silverado, crushing him inside, the Central Point resident has received a $1.4 million settlement from the trucking company.

Geary, 60, was waiting on a red light on Biddle Road in Central Point on Dec. 21, 2010, when the careening trailer slammed into his truck, flattening it like a pancake and trapping him in a mass of twisted metal and shattered glass for an hour and a half before rescue crews finally were able to remove him. He was rushed to the Rogue Valley Medical Center for treatment of a broken neck, spinal fluid leakage, a fractured wrist, and fractures of his left fibial and tibial plateau, as well as nerve damage in his right arm and wrist, Geary's attorney said in a news release.

In June Geary and his wife, Barbara McCormick, filed a lawsuit against the truck driver, Philip McCulloch, and his employer, Express Transport Corp. for $4.5 million, alleging that McCulloch was driving recklessly, the brakes on the rear trailer were out of adjustment, and that the tractor-trailer had mismatched brake slack adjusters. McCulloch was cited for reckless driving following the accident and no longer works for Express Transport.

Now, on the first anniversary of the accident, Geary has settled out of court with Express Transport for $1.4 million, bringing an end to over six months of hearings, depositions, and attorneys.

"Six months ago, I never thought that I would be here where I am today, spending Christmas with my family," said Geary, at a press conference today. "I should never have survived that accident."

"I just can't believe I'm here," he said. "I'm 6-foot-4. There's nothing left of that truck. It's smashed like a pancake, and how I even survived, it's just beyond my means to comprehend."

The settlement was reached after mediation and covers Geary's more than $300,000 in medical bills, $400,000 in estimated future medical expenses, and $700,000 compensation for loss of work and quality of life.

"Most people in his situation aren't able to get the case resolved in a year," said Tom D'Amore, Geary's attorney. "Many times these things drag on for several years."

"My bills are paid," said Geary. "I don't need a lot of money, I'm not going to get rich off of this."

"I got my apology," he said.

— Nils Holst