Seattle reaches settlement for motorcyclist killed at ‘dangerous intersection’

Mar 31, 2023, 8:43 AM | Updated: 11:49 am


The City of Seattle has settled a lawsuit with the family of a man who was hit and killed while riding a motorcycle through what the city is now calling a “notoriously dangerous intersection” in Wedgwood. (Photo from Flickr @Wedgwood Community Council)

(Photo from Flickr @Wedgwood Community Council)

The City of Seattle has settled a lawsuit with the family of a man who was hit and killed while riding a motorcycle through what the city is now calling a “notoriously dangerous intersection” in Wedgwood.

Jackson Reavis, a 22-year-old man, was riding his motorcycle through the intersection of 35th Avenue NE and NE 75th Street in northeast Seattle. He had the right of way through the intersection when a driver in a pickup truck turning left on a solid green light against oncoming traffic struck and killed him.

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Reavis’ family argued that the city had prior knowledge of the danger posed by the intersection and had plans and funding for installing left-turn arrow signals that could have saved Reavis’ life. They did not act in time, though, to save his life.

“Jackson’s death was unquestionably preventable,” said Craig Sims, the attorney leading the case against the City. “The tragic facts of this case show that it took his death to prompt the City to make a simple, low-cost change to an intersection it knew was unsafe. We hope this outcome sends a clear message that the City must take responsibility for its inaction and will commit to never again ignoring clear, simple opportunities to make Seattle roadways safer for our community.”

According to the argument made by the family’s attorneys, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) had funding allotted and available to install left turn signals at 35th Avenue NE – and had design plans drawn for the signals to be added to the existing infrastructure at the intersection. However, the City abandoned those plans despite repeated concerns voiced by community members who called the intersection “dangerous,” a “hazard,” and an “accident waiting to happen,” attorneys say.

The City settled with the family for $6.5 million.

Shortly after Reavis’ death, the City installed the left-turn arrow signals on existing structures at the intersection.

“Jackson was a fiercely loyal and compassionate brother, friend and son who was just at the precipice of beginning the prime of his life,” said Nicole Van Borkulo, Reavis’ mother. “For reasons we may never know, SDOT did not install the left-turn signals until it was too late for Jackson. We hope that by sharing our experience, we can help prevent this type of tragic incident from occurring again in our community.”

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Seattle reaches settlement for motorcyclist killed at ‘dangerous intersection’