An Idaho Springs man was awarded $18.5 million for catastrophic injuries he suffered when a driver drunk on alcohol and high on marijuana left a mountain road and slammed into him as he was changing the oil on his wife’s car in their driveway.
Clear Creek District Court Judge Granger assessed the award against the driver, Kevin Ruszkowski, 24; the owner of the Jeep, Randall Guy; and Guy’s son, Justin Guy, 20, who had allowed Ruszkowski to drive the vehicle.
Paul Savage, 46, who was injured, was head waiter at the Alpenglow Stube at Keystone at the time.
Ruszkowski had no license because his driving privileges had either been suspended or revoked for prior driving misconduct.
Read more: http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_14419648#ixzz0gN2hsQw2
Granger said he was assessing Ruszkowski $1 million in punitive damages both for “driving the Jeep while drinking and smoking marijuana and for fleeing the scene of a collision amid the screams of his victims.”
In fining Justin Guy, who was a passenger in the Jeep, another $1 million, Granger said he permitted Ruszkowski to drive his Jeep despite knowing that Ruszkowski had been drinking and smoking marijuana all day.
The judge noted that Savage is now in a wheelchair and will never walk again except “more than a few heavily assisted steps at a time” and is a “functional paraplegic.”
On the day of the accident, the judge said Ruszkowski and Justin Guy, both Denver residents, had decided to take Guy’s Jeep to the mountains and were driving on Virginia Canyon Road near Idaho Springs.
Ruszkowski was so drunk and high on marijuana that he ran off the road once and was warned by a passerby that they shouldn’t be on the road driving drunk. After pulling out of the ditch, said the judge, Ruszkowski, sped down Virginia Canyon Road, lost control of the vehicle and slammed into Paul Savage who was in the driveway of his home in the 400 block of Virginia Canyon Road.
The impact of the crash crushed Paul Savage. The Jeep, which became airborne, smashed into the Savage’s house.
Both Ruszkowski and Guy fled the scene but were apprehended a short time later.
Ruszkowski pleaded guilty to vehicular assault/DUI and leaving the scene of an accident. He was sentenced to six years on vehicular assault/DUI and four years on leaving the scene. The sentence was later reduced to four years of intense supervised probation after he successfully completed boot camp.
Justin Guy was convicted of obstructing government operations and sentenced to 40 hours of useful public service and 12 months of unsupervised probation.
Read more: http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_14419648#ixzz0gN3CGIiV
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