WACO, TX (KWTX) – Two lawsuits in the October 2019 crash that killed Falls County Deputy Matt Jones and critically injured Riesel Police Chief Danny Krumnow have been settled a week ahead of trial.
Attorneys for the Jones and Krumnow families confirmed Wednesday that they have reached confidential settlements in their lawsuits involving Michael Palmer, the Fort Worth man who lost control of his car on Highway 6 and crashed while helping officers. A stranded driver stopped on the side of the highway south of Riesel.
Other defendants in the lawsuit included AAA Texas; Phil Thweatt’s Wrecker Service; Pilger Auto and Tire Center; and Mazda Motor Corp.
A trial on the claims was set for later this month in Falls County’s 82nd District Court.
“While nothing can bring Deputy Matt Jones’ life back, we believe the lessons learned from this case can prevent a similar tragedy in the future,” said Houston attorney Rob Ammons, who along with Waco attorney Jim Dunnam, was the deputy defense attorney. Jones’ wife, Courtney Jones, and his parents, Ronnie and Debbie Jones.
While Krumnow’s career in law enforcement was in jeopardy because of his serious injuries, he was fortunate to continue as Rizel’s police chief, said Houston attorney Mo Aziz, who represented Krumnow and his wife, Karnelia, with Waco attorney Robert Robert. Stem.
“On October 11, 2019, while performing his duty, Chief Krumnov was seriously injured when he was hit by a high-speed car while responding to cars on the side of the road,” Aziz said. “The car overturned while driving on a curve on the highway in rainy conditions. Despite the serious nature of Chief Krumnov’s injuries, after a long recovery he continued to serve as Chief of the Rizel Police Department, where he continues to serve today.
Attorneys for the defendants in the lawsuits did not immediately return phone messages Wednesday.
At the heart of the lawsuit was the improper installation of what the lawsuit described as a “directional tire.”
“Directional tires are characterized by having a ‘directional’ tread pattern, meaning the tread pattern is designed to perform best when rolling in a specific direction. The tread pattern points in the same direction as the V-shaped tread blocks. The V-shaped tread grooves resist hydroplaning. at high speeds by pumping water more efficiently through the tread pattern. Tire manufacturers and industry standards require that the directional wheel be installed in the intended direction of rotation,” the lawsuit says.
Reverse-mounted tires can contribute to hydroplaning and loss of control when driving in wet weather, the suit alleges.
According to the lawsuit, Palmer damaged the left front tire and tire of his Mazda in August 2019. Palmer called AAA Texas for roadside assistance, and AAA installed a spare tire.
Needing a replacement tire and wheel, Palmer went to Pilger’s Tire and Auto Center in College Station and ordered the items. On October 11, 2019, Pilger told Palmer that it would take hours to install a new directional wheel and a used wheel.
“Rather than waiting, Defendant Michael Palmer determined that it would be more efficient for Defendant AAA Texas to do the work. Defendant Michael Palmer paid for the item, picked up his tire and wheel, and left,” the lawsuit states.
Palmer called AAA Texas and asked for help at her home. According to the lawsuit, AAA Texas “directed” Phil Tweet Wrecker Service of Bryan to install a new tire and tire.
“The new directional tire is installed backwards – opposite to the intended direction of rotation,” it claims. “Fitting the directional tire to the rear deprived the tire of the hydroplaning resistance and other driving performance benefits that the tread was designed for.”
Later that day, Palmer, driving through Falls County on wet roads, lost control of his car and hit Jones and Krumnow. Jones was thrown into the well and died at the scene. Krumnow was placed under a Falls County Sheriff’s Department vehicle and transported to a Waco hospital.
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