A man who was injured in a semi truck collision in Wyoming in 2019 was awarded millions of dollars by a jury this week, but the truck driver involved says that the big rig lost its brakes right after he drove away from the repair shop where the vehicle had been taken for brake service.
On November 2, a jury in Natrona County awarded Nicholas Skalicky $6.1 million for damages sustained in a crash following a jury trial, Oil City News reports. Skalicky’s wife was also awarded $300,000.
The crash occurred in September 9, 2019 in Casper, Wyoming.
At the time, truck driver George Dickerson, 61, was working for Magic City Stoves and he had just picked up owner Steve Schicketanz’s 1998 Volvo from Tire-Rama, where it had been brought in for brake service.
Dickerson testified that he had tested the truck’s brakes after picking the vehicle up from the shop. However, he told the court that as he continued driving the Volvo away from the shop, he realized he had no control over his brakes.
Dickerson told the jury he did “tried everything he could think of” to stop the Volvo but was only able to engage the engine brake and downshift prior to the collision with Skalicky’s car as he waited at a traffic light to turn.
The Volvo covered a quarter of a mile between the time when Dickerson says he lost his brakes and when the Volvo struck a Nissan that Skalicky was driving.
Skalicky said that he suffered major injuries and now suffers from debilitating back pain.
Skalicky’s legal team argued that driver inattention by Dickerson was the cause of the crash.
Steve Schicketanz’s son Steve Schicketanz Jr. testified that the Volvo experienced a brake failure incident in late August 2019, which is why it was brought to the shop. Schicketanz Jr. said that he has driven the Volvo many times since the crash without any brake issue.
An expert witness for the plaintiff testified that only one front brake was functional when the crash occurred. A mechanic produced by the defense testified that three brakes were functional on the day of the accident.
The jury ultimately found that Dickerson was 85% responsible and Tire-Rama was 15% responsible for the injury crash.
Dickerson is in custody on unrelated second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder charges for an alleged double stabbing involving family members.