Olympia man wins $2 million settlement for 2006 crash

Olympia man wins $2 million settlement for 2006 crash

An Olympia man will receive $2 million from the state after he was seriously hurt in a crash at the intersection of State Route 101 and Lynch Road near Shelton.

John Lancaster, 24, was critically hurt when his motorcycle hit a car turning left at the intersection in April of 2006. He spent two months in the hospital and had 15 surgeries.

Lancaster sued the Washington State Department of Transportation, claiming the design of the highway and the intersection was flawed and dangerous. The settlement was announced today.

"Crossing the intersection is like playing a high-stakes game of chicken - some drivers make it, some don't. The state knew that people's lives were at risk, but chose to do nothing," said Shawn Briggs, a Tacoma attorney representing Lancaster, in a written statement. "Drivers on Lynch Road have trouble judging when it is safe to go because of the high speed on SR 101 and the configuration of that intersection."

In the same statement Briggs said, Lancaster is still recovering from the injuries. The wreck four years ago was the 29th at the intersection since a 2001 DOT study recommended closing or fixing the highway.

Steve Bennett, a traffic operations engineer with the DOT, said many improvements have been made to the intersection over the years, including a slowdown lane and movement restrictions. He said intersections like the one at Lynch Road are common throughout the state.

Bennett declined to comment on the Lancaster lawsuit and settlement.