Yesterday, a Clear Creek District Court awarded an $18.5 million dollar verdict to an Idaho Springs man for the catastrophic personal injuries he suffered in a automobile collision with a drunken driver. On the date of the accident, Paul Savage was at his home in his driveway changing the oil in his car when he was crushed by a jeep owned by Justin Guy and driven by Kevin Ruszkowski. Mr. Ruszkowski and Mr. Guy had been driving on mountain roads after a day of drinking and smoking marijuana. Mr. Savage is confined to a wheelchair due to his paralysis and incurred $4.3 million dollars in medical bills and is expected to have another $4.9 million dollars in future medical bills.
Included in the verdict was an assessment for punitive damages against Ruszkowski, which were assessed for “driving the Jeep while drinking and smoking marijuana and for fleeing the scene of a collision amid the screams of his victims.” As is common in cases like this, Mr. Ruszkowski escaped with very little criminal punishment. After pleading guilty he was sentenced to 4 years of probation following completion of boot camp.
As a DUI Victims lawyer, I was pleased to see the victim obtain such positive civil justice. Hopefully, this verdict will help mend the physical, emotional, and financial harms Mr. Savage and his family have suffered and will likely continue to suffer into the future.