Pace bus service has settled a wrongful-death lawsuit filed by Geneva Township Assessor Denise LaCure, who argued that her husband's wheelchair broke free from a bus bracket system, causing him to break his hip and later die of a subsequent stroke.
David R. LaCure, a former St. Charles police officer and part-time Sugar Grove firefighter, was 61 when he died on Feb. 7, 2010.
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The parties agreed last month to keep the monetary award confidential, according to court records. Judge F. Keith Brown approved the settlement, which dismissed the case with prejudice, meaning Denise LaCure cannot refile the lawsuit in the future.
"We mediated it to a satisfactory settlement," said Denise LaCure. "I'm glad that it is over with. I will be able to move on now hopefully."
Her attorney, John McGuirk, declined to comment on the suit.
Gerald Cleary, an attorney representing Pace, said the agency did not admit any wrongdoing or liability in the settlement and declined further comment. Pace spokesman Patrick Wilmot said MV Transportation, a private transportation company that contracts with Pace, is responsible for the settlement. A message left with MV Transportation's offices in Batavia was not returned Friday.
In the lawsuit, Denise LaCure argued that her husband's motorized wheelchair became unfastened from a set of brackets and tipped over, causing him to break his hip.
The crash occurred after David LaCure, a former police officer and firefighter, was picked up on Oct. 20, 2009, through Pace's Dial-A-Ride program to be taken from his home on the 2100 block of Western Avenue in Geneva to a dialysis treatment center on the 2500 block of Fargo Boulevard in Geneva, the suit states.
The bus made a left turn at Randall and Keslinger roads and the wheelchair "became detached from the brackets on the bus floor and tipped to the right, throwing him violently to the floor of the bus and causing a violent impact to his person," according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit argued that Pace, the Regional Transportation Authority and MV Transportation, Inc. were liable and failed to secure the wheelchair and failed to train employees.
In court papers, Cleary argued that David LaCure was the negligent one, that he was offered a seat belt and refused, failed to follow the driver's instructions and was the "sole proximate cause of the accident."
Wilmot said Pace does not intend to make any policy changes in response to the accident.
"(The) investigation determined that neither our policies or the securement equipment were to blame for what transpired, so we don't intend to make any changes at this time. It's important to note that the Americans with Disabilities Act grants riders a number of rights, one of which is to decline the use of securement devices," Wilmot said in an email.