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Haverhill, Massachusetts Woman Awarded $8.5 Million Verdict for Motorcyclist Husband’s Wrongful Death

Jackie Monahan, a Haverhill, Massachusetts, woman has won $8.5 million in the wrongful death lawsuit against Alexis Ortiz, the 22-year-old driver who was speeding when he killed her husband Larry, 54, who had been riding his motorcycle outside their residence on March 18, 2006.

At his Massachusetts Parole Board meeting last month, Ortiz admitted that he had been drinking on the day of the deadly auto accident. Police estimates that Ortiz had been driving a Saturn sedan at around 81 mph. The car belonged to his father and was uninsured at the time of the accident. The collision left Larry crushed between the car and his motorcycle.

Ortiz, also a Haverhill resident, pled guilty to vehicular homicide and manslaughter charges in March 2007. He was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison sentence. As part of his plea agreement, he was to serve 2 years in jail, 10 years probation, and a 15-year license suspension.

Motorcycle accidents are frequently catastrophic if not fatal for bikers, who have no protection from the impact of getting hit by a speeding car or a large tractor-trailer. Injuries can be permanent or take months to recover from. If a motorist dies in a car collision, the loss and trauma for surviving family members can last forever.

In 2007, 50 motorcyclists, 61 pedestrians, and six bicyclists died on Massachusetts’ roads. Motorcyclists in Massachusetts are planning to appear on Beacon Hill in Boston on March 18, 2008 to support a bill imposing harsher jail sentences and fines on drivers convicted of serious right-of-way crashes that results in serious injuries or deaths. The bill seeks to impose a 2.5 year mandatory jail sentence, a 10-year license suspension,and a $350 fine if someone is convicted.

Haverhill: Wife wins $8.5 million in husband’s motorcycle death, fights to keep other driver in prison, Eagletribune.com, March 2, 2008
Bikers want more punishment for motorists in right-of-way accidents, Enterprisenews.com, March 17, 2008

Related Web Resources:

Massachusetts Law About Traffic Violation

State Traffic and Speed Laws