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Passenger's Estate Agrees to $1,800,000 Settlement


The estate of Stephen L. Curtis, a 51-year-old United Airlines avionics engineer, accepted a $1,800,000 settlement following negotiations which concluded yesterday before Circuit Court of Cook County Judge Edward R. Burr. Curtis was killed when the pickup truck in which he was a passenger collided with a semi-truck at the intersection of State Route 25 and I-65 in Lafayette, Indiana.

According to Edward G. Willer of Corboy & Demetrio, who represented Curtis' estate, discovery revealed that a pickup truck driven by his best friend, David M. Houk and owned by the City of Oakland, Illinois, in which Curtis was a passenger, disregarded a traffic control device. A semi-truck operated by Claudius H. Parker, Jr., had just turned on State Route 25 from I-65 when the collision occurred. At the time of the incident, road construction was occurring, it was raining, and Houk had limited visibility.

Curtis is survived by his three adult children: Cynthia Ann Setlik, Stephen Matthew Curtis and Laura Jane Curtis. According to Edward G. Willer, "these monies will compensate this close-knit family for the unnecessary loss of their father."

Named in the suit as defendants were Claudius H. Parker, Jr., Te'Reg Trucking, Inc., owner and operator of the truck driven by Parker, Theodore R. Powell, the City of Oakland, owner of the truck driven by Houk, David Houk, and Crystal Leasing, Inc.

Defendants Houk and City of Oakland paid $1,750,000, while defendants Parker, Powell, Te'Reg Trucking, and Crystal Leasing paid $50,000.


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