The family of a cyclist killed by a FedEx truck driver has filed a $1.6 million wrongful death lawsuit against the delivery service.

Jonathan Chase Adams was biking to work at Carl’s Jr. on Nov. 20, 2017, when he was hit and run over at a busy Bend intersection near downtown.

In the civil complaint filed in Deschutes County Circuit Court, Nathan Steele, attorney for Adams’ estate, argues the FedEx truck’s dashcam shows Adams could clearly be seen and the driver was not paying attention.

“Defendants’ negligence was a substantial factor in causing Adams’ catastrophic injuries that resulted in his death,” the lawsuit states.

The deadly collision was the subject of a one-day trial in October, which concluded with driver Trenton Sage being found not guilty of failing to yield to a cyclist in a bike lane.

Adams, 31, was riding in the bike lane on Wall Street through the Olney Avenue intersection when Sage made a right turn. Adams hit the side of the semi before his bike was caught under the wheels and he went to the ground.

Bend Police declined to cite Sage at the scene. But several months later, Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel announced he would issue Sage with a traffic violation. Intent on keeping a clean driving record, Sage hired a lawyer and opted for a judge trial.

Judge A. Michael Adler ruled that he saw “no authority” in the statutes supporting the prosecution’s argument that bicycle lanes continue in an intersection. He further said Adams’ high rate of speed “carried him out of the protection of the bike lane (defense).”

Following the ruling, cycling advocates in Oregon lobbied to clarify the law. In April and May, House Bill 2682 easily passed. The bill clarifies that bicycle lanes exist in intersections in the same direction of travel whether or not they’re marked.

Adams’ mother, Janet, is named as the plaintiff in the suit. In addition to $1.6 million in economic damages, she is seeking $500 for her son’s bicycle, which was destroyed in the crash.

— Reporter: 541-383-0325, gandrews@bendbulletin.com

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