$10.6 million settlement has been reached between the makers and sellers of an “off-road” tire and the parents of a 4- year-old girl killed in a head on crash.
The out-of-court settlement, reached Wednesday after two years of negotiations and supervised by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Richard Hodge is believed one of the largest of its kind in the state.
The child, Sencera Alain Smith was killed in a September 1985 crash that seriously injured her mother, Judy, who still walks with a cane, according to Berkeley attorney Andrew Gillin of Gillin, Jacobson and Ellis,. a Berkeley personal injury law firm that represented the Smith family.
The mother and daughter Sencera Smith were driving home on Mission Boulevard when a Chevrolet Blazer, raised above normal height and equipped with 36 ½-inch-high “Grand Prix” tires, lost control after a blowout and became airborne before colliding with the Smith’s compact sedan.
The driver of the truck, 25-year-old Kent Haskovec, received minor injuries, according to Gillin. Civil damages against Haskovec are pending. Named as defendants in a multimillion-dollar suit were Rubber Manufacturing Co., makers of the tire; the Tire and Battery Corp. (TBC) of Memphis, Tenn., which de signed the tire; and Grand Auto Stores, which sold it throughout the Western states, Gillin said.
Gillin said Grand Auto and TBC will each pay 37 ½ percent of the settlement and Denman will pay 25 percent over the course of the Smith family’s lifetime.
The Smiths’ law firm was awarded $1.3 million in legal fees plus $250,000 in costs to investigate the accident. Gillin said the Smith family has announced plans to “make a significant gift” to Children’s Hospital in Oakland, where Sencera remained “brain dead” for two days before the family agreed to cut life support systems.