Posted on Dec 14, 2010
The city of Columbia, Missouri, and a public transportation bus driver are facing a wrongful death lawsuit following a deadly motorcycle accident that took place in July 2010.

According to court records, 34-year-old Michael Heaston was approaching the intersection of Burlington Street and Vandiver Drive when a Columbia city bus made a left turn in front of his path. The bike slide under the bus and the man was pinned for several minutes. He died of his motorcycle accident injuries at University Hospital the next day. The bus driver said that he did not see the motorcycle when he stopped at the stop sign – he only saw Heaston after hearing a loud screech of brakes and a bang.

The Missouri wrongful death lawsuit has been filed by Heaston’s wife, Jenny, his parents, Jackie and David, and one of his three children, Jadin. The lawsuit blames both the city and the bus driver, Archie Smith Junior, of negligence and say that the bus driver should have prevented the accident from occurring. The defense argues that Heaston was speeding on his bike in the seconds before the bus accident and that he was not wearing an appropriate motorcycle helmet as required by Missouri law.

Police have said conflicting statements about Heaston’s speed at different times, estimating that he was going between 18 and 25 miles per hour from one piece of evidence, and that he was going between 42 and 44 miles per hour in from another piece of evidence. The speed limit at the intersection is 35 miles per hour.

The Missouri wrongful death case, in which the family asks the court to determine the amount of compensation, will be heard in Boone County.

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