The estate of a woman killed by a semi-truck at a deadly highway intersection outside Madras has sued the Oregon Department of Transportation for $12 million.
The husband of Nadia Rankov Adams, a merchandizer for Possibilities Thrift Stores in Central Oregon, filed the wrongful death action Thursday in Jefferson County Circuit Court asserting his wife suffered from a “fear of impending death” over her regular commute from Redmond to Madras.
Rankov Adams, 52, was killed on the afternoon of Aug. 18, 2020, when a Volvo semi-truck slammed into a line of vehicles traveling north on U.S. Highway 97. The line was waiting for a vehicle to turn left onto SW Bear Drive. The semi-truck then veered into oncoming traffic and slammed head-on into Adams’ vehicle.
It was the third fatal multivehicle collision on Highway 97 between Redmond and Madras in three weeks.
In March, Rankov Adams’ husband, Ron Adams, had filed a tort claim notice announcing he intended to sue Jefferson County and ODOT for allegedly maintaining a dangerous intersection.
Thursday’s lawsuit names ODOT, Jefferson County, shipping operator NC Trans Inc. and the driver of the semi-truck, Inderjit Singh.
A resident of Yuba City, California, Singh was not charged with a crime. The lawsuit, however, alleges Singh was negligent by driving too fast for the circumstances and failing to stay in his lane, maintain a proper lookout or exercise reasonable care.
Both ODOT and Jefferson County are accused of maintaining an “unreasonably dangerous” intersection, and failing to warn drivers about it.
Jefferson County’s insurer, City County Insurance, has denied the county is at fault. Officials with ODOT directed questions to its attorneys at the Oregon Department of Justice, who declined to comment.
Rankov Adams lived in John Day before moving to Redmond. She had three children and worked as a merchandizer for the Opportunity Foundation’s Possibilities Thrift Store locations in Bend, Redmond and Madras. Relatives have said she regularly expressed misgivings about her commute to Madras. She signed an online petition to create a safety corridor on the highway between Redmond and Madras.
The lawsuit seeks noneconomic damages for Rankov Adams because prior to her death, she’s said to have suffered from “fear of impending injury or death” over her Redmond-Madras commute.
Rankov Adams was a member of the Bend band The Nomads.