Pima County and the organizers of El Tour de Tucson have settled a lawsuit with a Surprise resident who was brain-damaged in a crash nearly two years ago. The settlement was for $3.5 million.
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Stuebe was riding in the bicycling event on Nov. 22, 2008, when William Wilson, then 91, turned north onto Westward Look Drive from West Ina Road and collided with 10 bike riders.
Stuebe, then 41, suffered a life-threatening brain injury, and four others suffered a variety of less-serious injuries.
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Taxpayers won’t be directly responsible for the $3.5 million. Although the county normally pays the first $2 million of any judgment or claim settlement, the Perimeter Bicycling Association took out a $2 million policy on the event, which will cover the county’s out-of-pocket obligation, said William Rubin, who helped represent the county. Insurance will cover the rest.
Leshner said it’s miraculous that Stuebe is alive. He suffered damage to his frontal and temporal lobes, had portions of his brain removed and spent 40 days in a coma. He still suffers from epilepsy as a result of the crash.
Before the crash, Stuebe was a senior inventory analyst for PetSmart, but he will never be able to return to that job, Leshner said.
“Gary has a lot of challenges, but the settlements give him a secure financial future,” Leshner said.
Despite the settlements, Leshner said Stuebe is determined to work again and is considering a job offer to sack groceries.
Wilson fled the scene and hired attorney Michael Bloom, who provided Wilson’s name to authorities two days later.
He pleaded guilty to attempted leaving the scene of an accident and was placed on three years’ probation in June 2009.
Bloom said at the time of his sentencing that Wilson left only because he was frightened by angry bicyclists who had gathered around his car and yelled at him.