Fatal motorcycle accident provokes lawsuit against city

Tuesday, November 30, 2010 | 6:36 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA–The family of a motorcycle accident victim is pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Columbia and city bus driver Archie Smith Jr. for negligent driving.

Michael Heaston, 34, the father of three children, died after colliding with a city bus at the intersection of Burlington Street and Vandiver Drive on July 12 as Smith attempted to make a left turn at the stop sign. The suit says Heaston attempted to swerve but was pinned under the bus for several minutes. He was taken to University Hospital, where he died the next day.

Heaston’s widow, Jenny Heaston; his parents, Jackie and David Heaston; and his son, Jadin Heaston, filed the wrongful death lawsuit last month. The suit asks the court to decide the compensation amount for the family’s loss.

The suit accuses Smith of not swerving or slowing down to avoid the accident. The defense attorney for the city of Columbia, Debbie Champion, filed a response last week accusing Michael Heaston of speeding and not wearing a state-approved motorcycle helmet.

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