The State of Washington Department of Transportation has agreed to pay an injured man $2 million in damages. John Lancaster, 22, of Olympia, was severely hurt in a 2006 motorcycle crash that he alledges was due to a poorly designed intersection. He also claimed that DOT knew about the dangerous intersection, but failed to take appropriate action to fix it.
Lancaster was attempting to head north on U.S. 101 outside of Shelton, WA on April 25, 2006, when a driver attempting to turn left onto U.S. 101 from Lynch Road cut him off. Lancaster's motorcycle then smashed into the side of the vehicle.
A 2001 DOT study showed recommendations for closing the left turn lane onto U.S. 101 from Lynch Road. There have been 55 collisions at that same intersection since 1996, including two fatalities. However, no changes were made.
Lancaster flatlined for three minutes following the crash. He was left in a coma and on life support for three weeks and was unable to walk for two months. Today, he still cannot use his right arm and has limited use of his left hand. In 2006 alone, he claims his medical bills were more than $600,000.
Lancaster's attorney claims the cost to fix the intersection and get rid of the left turn lane would be minimal to the State of Washington; about $50,000.