Nicole and Nicholas Walters were involved in a fatal car crash that killed both of their parents. The family’s GMC Yukon was struck by a fatigued driver. / COURTESY PHOTO
A Denver jury awarded a $26.6 million verdict to two siblings who survived a car crash that killed their parents and family dogs. The attorneys for the family say survivors now want to combat fatigued driving within the trucking and transportation industry.
The verdict was handed down Sept. 23 at the close of a six-day trial. The case focused on the negligence of Mark Bollinger, a pickup truck driver found to be responsible for the crash, as well as a question of whether CWRV, the transportation company, was responsible for his actions at the time of the crash. That question of agency was a major theme throughout the trial and is one throughout the industry when similar crashes occur, according to Dan Caplis, an attorney for the plaintiffs.
Nicole and Nicholas Walters, then 21 and 18 years old respectively, were traveling with their parents, Mike and Jill, to visit relatives in Nebraska when they stopped on the road because of a spill up ahead. While they were stopped, Bollinger, who had completed a delivery and was returning home, crashed into the Walters’ GMC Yukon. According to Caplis, Bollinger was driving about 75 mph and had fallen asleep at the wheel.
Babar Waheed, an attorney at the Caplis Law Firm, said Bollinger said at the scene that he had been nodding off. In litigation, Bollinger didn’t deny making those statements but said he didn’t remember making them, Waheed said.