Settlement reached in wrongful death suit

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(Photo by MARY MALONE) An overturned log truck is visible on Dufort Road on Thursday.

PRIEST RIVER — A $1 million insurance settlement is resolving a wrongful death lawsuit involving a jogger who was accidentally killed when a logging truck overturned on Dufort Road in 2017.

First District Judge Barbara Buchanan approved a verified petition for a minor’s compromise on Nov. 6, which effectively settles Patrick Malone’s litigation and directs the funds to an account benefiting his 7-year-old daughter whose mother was killed, court records indicate.

Idaho State Police said Jesse Ray Flory was driving westbound when he overturned a fully loaded 1992 Kenworth log truck, causing his haul to spill into the roadway and kill Katherine Malone, 36.

No charges were filed against Flory and settlement documents in the civil case appear to explain why.

Flory told investigators he rounded a bend in the rural road, encountered Katherine Malone in the roadway with her head pointed down, according to court documents. Flory said he swerved to avoid the woman, causing the truck to overturn and spill its contents of cedar logs.

Other witnesses told investigators said Katherine Malone was wearing earphones and clad in a green shirt which caused her to blend into the August background. They also said that she was “several feet” into the roadway and they nearly hit her themselves, court records indicate.

The investigation further revealed that Flory was not driving recklessly, inattentively or under the influence of intoxicants. The investigation also determined that Flory’s load of logs was by all accounts properly secured.

Patrick Malone’s counsel, Coeur d’Alene attorney Michael T. Howard, conceded in court documents that the facts presented a “challenging case” of liability against Flory or his employer, Kevin Flory Trucking.

“Moreover, there is evidence from which jury could find comparative fault on the part of Katherine Malone, as several witnesses interviewed stated that she was jogging in the roadway, wearing headphones and wearing clothing that made her difficult to see,” Howard wrote in court documents.

Keith Kinnaird can be reached by email at kkinnaird@bonnercountydailybee.com and follow him on Twitter @KeithDaily

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