Flagler widower wins $5.1 million verdict in deadly truck wreck
Posted November 13, 2009 By Jessie-Lynne Kerr, jacksonville.com Â 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. Â 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. Â 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. Â 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. Â 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.” Â 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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