Trial starts in Kansas couple's suit against city for Palace Transit collisionRichard “Rex” Russell and Mary Russell were hit by the bus June 18, 2009, while they were walking in the crosswalk at North Main Street and Seventh Avenue.
By: Tom Lawrence, The Daily Republic
A lawsuit against the city of Mitchell from a tourist couple struck by a Palace Transit bus in 2009 is scheduled for trial this morning at the Davison County Courthouse.
Richard “Rex” Russell and Mary Russell were hit by the bus June 18, 2009, while they were walking in the crosswalk at North Main Street and Seventh Avenue.
According to court documents filed in the complaint, the bus struck the couple from Sabetha, Kan., and knocked them 10 feet.
The driver of the bus, city employee Julie Payne, had a green light to turn left through the crosswalk but “failed to maintain a proper look out,” the lawsuit alleges.
Payne pleaded guilty to careless driving, a misdemeanor, in July 2009. She no longer works for the city.
The lawsuit, filed by the Russells through Sioux Falls-based attorney Thomas J. Von Wald, does not list an amount of money the couple is seeking.
Instead, it asks for “damages,” interest, costs and “other interest, and further relief as the Court deems just and equitable.”
In an interview with The Daily Republic in 2009, Mary Russell said she suffered a broken bone in one of her hands and a cut in an elbow that required stitches. Her husband, who was briefly knocked unconscious, suffered a slight concussion, she said. Both had various scrapes and bruises.
The lawsuit claims they “suffered permanent injuries,” have incurred and continue to incur medical expenses related to the accident as well as pain and suffering, and have also seen the “loss of enjoyment of life” as well as emotional distress.
The city’s insurance carrier has provided the defense in the case, Mayor Lou Sebert said. Douglas Deibert, a Sioux Falls lawyer, will argue that side of the case. The trial is scheduled for two days.
The lawsuit marks an apparent change in attitude for the Russells.
Less than a week after the accident, Mary Russell told The Daily Republic in a phone interview that everyone they encountered in Mitchell had been “very, very accommodating.”
The Russells were crossing the street to see the Corn Palace. Richard Russell was 67 when the accident occurred; Mary Russell was 65.
Republic file photo
Mitchell Police Officer Dan Kopfmann photographs the accident scene June 18, 2009, after two Kansas tourists were struck by a Palace Transit bus in downtown Mitchell.