Family of man killed in wreck files claims
The Town of Truckee postponed a Tuesday meeting on the safety of the Alder Creek Road/ Highway 89 north intersection after claims were filed against the town and Caltrans by the family of a man killed in an accident at that intersection last summer.
A claim is a common first step that must be taken before suing a public agency, said Truckee Town Attorney Dennis Crabb.
Kyle “Dutch” Van Arsdale, a 21-year-old Truckee resident, was killed when pulling out into the intersection in July, spurring public concern over the intersection that led to a joint Town of Truckee-Caltrans meeting in November. After that meeting drew about 70 people to discuss possible fixes for the intersection, a second public meeting was scheduled for Jan. 28.
“Although the intersection is not within the town’s purview, we wanted to facilitate a public discussion, and Caltrans has been amenable to this,” said Kim Szczurek, administrate services director for the town.
“But this put the brakes on that, at least for now,” said Szczurek, of the claims the family made against the Town of Truckee.
Town staff want to sort out the claim before continuing forward with the intersection meetings, she said.
This doesn’t mean work has halted though, Town of Truckee Public Works Director Dan Wilkins said.
Caltrans is still reviewing the intersection, and may add additional warning lights on Highway 89 north, he said.
Szczurek said no dollar figure was included in the claims, brought individually by both parents, Gene and Brenda Van Arsdale. The document instead stated
“unspecified economic damages including but not limited to loss of financial support.”
Truckee’s Town Attorney Dennis Crabb said a claim can signal a future lawsuit.
“Anybody who wants to sue a public agency has to file a claim first, and the town council can choose to approve or deny that claim,” Crabb said.
If Truckee’s town council approves a claim, a release is required to prevent further action, Szczurek said. But in the case of the Van Arsdale’s, staff is recommending
the town council deny the claim.
“This is obviously a tragedy and we feel horribly, but that intersection is not within town control, there is nothing the town could have done,” Szczurek said.
Truckee’s town council will consider the claim at their Feb. 7 meeting, she said.
Caltrans spokesperson Rochelle Jenkins confirmed that Caltrans has also received two claims from the Van Arsdale family, but provided no further information.
Neither the Van Arsdale’s nor their attorney could be reached by Sierra Sun press time.
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