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Michigan Pays $450,000 to Woman Hit by Prison Van

On March 30, 2006, the State of Michigan paid $450,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by a woman who suffered severe leg fractures after being hit by a prison van.

Rosalee Farraher, a 69-year-old retired female, claimed in her lawsuit against the Michigan Department of Corrections and guard Joseph Voorheis that Voorheis ran a stop sign and turned left into her lane of travel even though she had the right of way. The van was carrying six state prisoners and pulling a wood chipper. Farraher alleged that Voorheis was negligent for failing to give her the right of way and grossly negligent for failing to stop at the stop sign while driving a state-owned vehicle.

Following the accident Farraher spent 11 days in the hospital, underwent multiple surgeries to repair a fractured femur and patella, and spent an additional 58 days in extended care. Farraher also claimed that her injuries resulted in permanent disability and that she had to make modifications to her house to accommodate these disabilities.

Voorheis denied liability at trial, but all six prisoners in the van testified that he ran the stop sign and that Farraher was not at fault in the accident.

The State settled prior to the conclusion of the trial for $450,000. Farraher provided expert testimony from Gary J. McDonald, an accident reconstruction specialist in Grand Rapids Michigan.

Farraher was represented by attorney Mark R. Dancer of Traverse City, Michigan. Judge Mark S. Wickens presided. See: Farraher v. Voorheis, Lake County Circuit Court, Case No. 04-633-NI.

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Related legal case

Farraher v. Voorheis