Flagler widower wins $5.1 million verdict in deadly truck wreck

Posted November 13, 2009 By Jessie-Lynne Kerr, jacksonville.com   A Circuit Court jury in Flagler County Thursday returned a $5.1 million verdict in a wrongful death case stemming from a 2006 fatal collision between a fully loaded tractor-trailer and a Honda minivan.   Ingrid Falkenstein, 67, who had just retired to Palm Coast with her husband, David Falkenstein, was killed instantly in the wreck. Her husband suffered a pelvic fracture among other injuries.   Falkenstein’s attorney, Steve Pajcic of Jacksonville, presented evidence that showed trucker Christopher Angland of Palatka, driving for McMaster Sod LLC of Bunnell, ran a stop sign at Cody’s Corner. The accident occurred about 6:30 p.m. May 18 at the well-known but isolated intersection in the southwest part of the county.   The defendants argued that the county was at fault because of poor signage at the intersection and a failure to replace worn rumble strips approaching the stop sign.   But the jury placed 60 percent of the blame on the driver, 40 percent on McMaster and none on the county. Pajcic said some of his most compelling evidence was a Valentine’s card that Falkenstein gave his wife in the first year of their 33-year marriage that pledged, “Our happiness is our wealth.”   Pajcic urged the jury to place the same value on their long marriage as the couple had themselves. He argued that reckless driving by a tired trucker had robbed the couple of their golden years of retirement.

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