SEATTLE — The City of Seattle has settled a lawsuit with the family of a 22-year-old man who was killed while riding his motorcycle in a "notoriously dangerous" intersection in the city.
The $6.5 million settlement was reached between the city and the family of Jackson Reavis. According to the suit, on a Monday evening in June 2019, Reavis was riding his motorcycle through the intersection of 35th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 75th Street in Seattle’s Wedgwood neighborhood.
Reavis had the right-of-way and was driving through the intersection when the driver of a pickup truck fatally hit him while turning left on a solid green light against oncoming traffic.
According to the Reavis family's attorney, the city knew that the intersection posed safety threats and had plans and funding for the installation of left-turn arrow signals that could have saved Reavis’ life but did not take action to improve the intersection’s safety until after the fatal collision.
The Seattle City Attorney's Office released a statement that read:
“The plaintiffs contended that a protected left turn signal that was installed after the accident should have been installed sooner. In settling, the City did not concede that the location was dangerous at the time of the accident. The plaintiffs did not contend the location is currently unsafe.”
Within a month of Reavis’ death, the city began work to install the left-turn arrow signals on existing structures at the intersection, which the suit alleges could have saved the young man’s life.
“Jackson’s death was unquestionably preventable,” said Craig Sims, the Schroeter Goldmark & Bender attorney leading the case against the city.
“What I can tell you from working with the family is it's been quite an emotional roller coaster to first deal with the tragic loss of Jackson and then to go through this litigation process to try to find out what happened,” Sims said.
At the time of his death, Jackson had recently returned home to Seattle after graduating from the University of Redlands.
“Jackson was a fiercely loyal and compassionate brother, friend and son who was just at the precipice of beginning the prime of his life,” said Nicole Van Borkulo, Reavis’ mother.
Part of Jackson does live on as he was an organ donor.
“It's not just about Jackson being killed, but how it is that he's leaving a legacy," Sims said. "And that's through ensuring that other people have the ability to live in a way in which Jackson lives.”