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$3.1 Million Settlement for Spokane Pedestrian Hit by a Car

$3.1 Million Settlement for Spokane Pedestrian Hit by a Car

A car hit Benjamin Gedeon while he was legally crossing a marked crosswalk, over four years ago.

Now, Spokane is on the verge of reaching a $3.1 million settlement with Gedeon, who claims the city failed to provide a safe pedestrian crossing. Specifically, Gedeon refers to the intersection of Rhoades Avenue and Division Street, four blocks north of Francis Avenue. If the Spokane City Council approves the agreement, the city will be required to pay more than $1.1 million before their insurer will pay the remainder. 

On November 3, 2018, during his lunch break, Benjamin Gedeon was walking back to his job at Royals Cannabis. After crossing Division Street, he was hit by a Honda Element.

According to a lawsuit filed in 2021 against the city of Spokane and the driver, McKenna Bourgo, Gedeon was thrown “approximately 51 feet.” He suffers injuries, including a traumatic brain injury, a right subdural hematoma, and a skull fracture.

In 2018, Gedeon is admitted to the hospital, intubated for a week, and has a portion of his skull removed. He undergoes “intensive inpatient rehabilitation due to difficulty eating, significant cognitive problems, balance problems, and difficulty with activities of daily living.” He undergoes a second surgery but continues to struggle with “cognitive and emotional problems as a result of the traumatic brain injury.”

According to Ray Kayler, one of Gedeon’s attorneys, Gedeon has already settled with Bourgo. 

This year, the city plans to spend $2.6 million on large pedestrian hybrid beacons. The beacons are being placed at the intersections of North Nevada Street and Joseph Avenue. They are also being placed at Greene Street and Carlisle Avenue.

A pedestrian hybrid beacon is defined by the US Department of Transportation as a traffic-control device that raises motorists’ awareness of pedestrians crossing at uncontrolled marked crosswalk locations. Pedestrians activate the beacons, which are timed to flash for the length of time it takes to cross on foot. 

Another three beacons are being installed at intersections along Division Street, including where Gedeon was hit in 2018.

“We are pleased that the city is planning to install a pedestrian hybrid beacon there to prevent another incident like this from happening,” Kayler said.

Benjamin Gedeon’s lawsuit is not the city of Spokane’s first multimillion-dollar settlement in recent years. Last summer, the city agreed to pay $4 million to the family of David Novak. David Novak was shot and killed by police in 2019.


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