Defendant, Tyquanne McCargo, was stopped by a Virginia State Trooper on Interstate 81 in Rockbridge County for speeding, 93/70. When the Trooper advised him of an outstanding warrant, McCargo sped away from the stop. Two Troopers gave chase.
McCargo traveled more than 13 miles on I-81, at speeds up to 130 mph, between Natural Bridge and Lexington. McCargo drove around traffic in the right and left lanes, and passed multiple vehicles on the right shoulder of the road at high speeds.
McCargo left I-81 at exit 200 and, after losing control and hitting an embankment at the end of the exit, he continued on Sterrett Road for one mile at speeds exceeding 80 mph, more than double the posted speed limit. As McCargo entered a curve, he lost control on the right side of the road, swerved hard back to the left, crossed the center line and struck the 1996 Dodge Ram truck driven by the decedent.
The entire police chase and collision were captured on the Trooper’s dashboard camera. Decedent, a 56-year-old husband and father, died at the scene. McCargo pleaded guilty to felony murder, felony eluding, and reckless driving.
Decedent was married to his high school sweetheart for over 36 years, had two adult children and three grandchildren. Decedent had cardiac bypass surgery one year prior to his death and Progressive’s low initial offer was based on their theory that his life-span was significantly shortened due to his health.
Decedent’s treating cardiologist wrote a letter explaining that decedent’s risk of death from coronary artery disease was less than a large percentage of the population who have more significant risk factors and are not being treated by a physician.
Decedent owned a logging business and had been logging for more than 25 years. Proving exact lost income was difficult due to fluctuating and relatively low income through the years, according to tax returns. Damages were primarily loss of solace for the widow and two adult children.
Decedent’s widow came upon the scene of the collision, less than two miles from their home, and saw her deceased husband in the cab of his truck. She also saw the police dashcam video and accident scene photos during the criminal preliminary hearing and the sentencing of Defendant, which caused additional distress.
Plaintiff’s counsel prepared a demand package, including a 20-minute video during which decedent’s widow, children and grandchildren explained how their lives were impacted as a result of the decedent’s sudden, violent death. The video also included interviews with other family and friends who described decedent’s relationship with his wife and children, and how well-liked decedent was in the community. The video was prepared and edited with the assistance of Video Production Services in Roanoke and J. B. Stephens, videographer.
Plaintiff included a claim for punitive damages and demurrers were filed by both State Farm and Progressive. The issue was fully briefed and heard by Judge Perrow, who ruled that plaintiff’s allegations were sufficient to allow the claim for punitive damages to proceed to trial.
Progressive Insurance requested mediation with Judge Baskervill of McCammon Group as mediator. Only the attorney and adjuster from Progressive participated in the mediation, as Virginia Farm Bureau had previously agreed to pay the same proportion of their $100,000 coverage as Progressive paid of their $1 million coverage. The other carriers had tendered their limits. The case settled after approximately five hours of mediation for $1,050,000.[19-T-109]
Type of action: Wrongful Death
Injuries alleged: 56 year old male died at the accident scene
Name of case: Unnamed Decedent v. Tyquanne Corelle McCargo
Court: Rockbridge Circuit Court
Tried before: Mediation
Name of judge or mediator: Hon. Pamela S. Baskervill (Ret.)
Date resolved: Oct. 1, 2018
Special damages: $11,000 funeral bill. Approximately $180,000 in lost income.
Demand: $1,400,000.00 – total coverage available from all carriers
Offer: Peak Property & Casualty, the liability carrier, tendered their $30,000 limits immediately. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance, the sole first-tier UIM carrier, tendered their $270,000 limits early. Progressive, one of two second-tier UIM carriers, offered $200,000 of their $1,000,000 coverage after plaintiff demanded limits of coverage. Virginia Farm Bureau, the other second-tier UIM carrier, did not make an offer but agreed to pay pro-rata with Progressive from their $100,000 coverage.
Verdict or settlement: Settlement
Attorneys for plaintiff: Raphael E. Ferris and Lenden A. Eakin, Roanoke
Insurance carrier: Peak Property & Casualty, liability carrier, $30,000 coverage; State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance, UIM carrier, $270,000 coverage; Progressive, second UIM carrier, $1,000,000 coverage; Virginia Farm Bureau, third UIM carrier, $100,000 coverage