Settlement reached in bicyclist's death

January 27, 2010 11:27:55 AM PST
Houston city council has voted on a settlement for the parents of a bicyclist who was killed when two Houston fire trucks crashed last March. The city will pay out $225,000 to the victim's family. That is $25,000 less than what the maximum would have allowed.

Leigh Boone was riding her bike last March when two Houston firefighter trucks collided at the intersection of Westheimer and Dunlavy. That collision injured nine firefighters and two civilians. Boone, one of those civilians, was crushed under the wreckage. She died nearly two weeks after the accident.

The subsequent investigation revealed the driver of the ladder truck was at fault for failure to use due caution. Boone's family attorney says the settlement was agreed upon primarily to send a message to the Houston Fire Department to review its policies and practices responding to emergencies.

Today, Council Member Sue Lovell addressed Boone's family.

"I go home every day by Dunlavy and Westheimer and there is actually, bicyclists put up a memorial, which they painted a bicycle white and it's attached to a pole there. There is flowers and a picture of her. So, every day I am reminded of what happened to her," said Lovell. "I want to say to her family, that I know, no matter what, for them to know that there are people that still remember her and we are very sorry about what happened to her."

The maximum settlement could have been $250,000 but the city attorney says it would have likely ended up in court. This expedites the process. There is still one lawsuit pending as a result of this accident.

Leigh's parents, Linda Zapalac and Keith Boone, issued the following statement:

    "Our daughter Leigh Bess Boone was taken from us over eight months ago. Words cannot describe the grief that we feel. The resolution of the claim against the City shows us that the HFD errors that caused the crash are being addressed so that this type of incident won't happen again. The resolution gives us some closure. We appreciate all of the love and support provided by our family, friends and community. Without it, this difficult daily journey would be unbearable."