$2.7M settlement reached in fatal Cortland County crash

CORTLAND, N.Y. – A settlement has been reached in a fatal 2013 crash in the town of Truxton that resulted in the deaths of seven people, according to recently released court documents.

The accident occurred on May 29, 2013, on Route 13 in Truxton when a trailer carrying crushed vehicles detached from a truck and collided head-on with a minivan that had eight people inside.

Shawn Mead–the lone survivor of the crash–was traveling with his two children, Alyssa and Tyler Mead, and his girlfriend, Teresa Bush, and her two children, Alexis Bush, 4, and Jasmine Bush, 5. Also in the vehicle were Teresa Bush's cousin, Lena Beckwith, and Carino VanOrden, Beckwith's fiancé.

An investigation by the Cortland County Sheriff's Department determined that the tractor-trailer had a "defective tow hitch," causing the trailer to become detached from the vehicle.

In the accident reconstruction report filed by the department, investigators also determined that VanOrden, who was driving the van, took "evasive action" by driving off the right shoulder of the roadway to try and avoid the collision.

No criminal charges were filed against the driver of the tractor-trailer or the trucking company.

In the weeks following the accident, Mead suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression, survivor's guilt and severe insomnia, according to court documents.

Mead has been unable to return to his job at Marietta due to his PTSD symptoms, his attorney wrote in court documents.

Under the terms of the settlement, Mead will receive $1.4 million. The estates of the seven victims will receive the remaining $1.3 million.

The insurance company representing Ryan C. Dorward, the driver of the tractor-trailer, and Duane Newton, the owner of the vehicle, was ordered to pay $1 million, the largest terms of the settlement.


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