Our Bike Injury Client Robert Skof on KGW
Lawsuit Settled for $500,000 Against Owner of Mt. Hood Skibowl
For Drunken Hit-and-Run That Left a Lake Oswego Man Permanently Injured
Portland, OR (May 16, 2012) – A $500,000 settlement has been reached in the civil case against Kirk Hanna, owner of the Mt. Hood Skibowl, for the injuries sustained by Robert Skof, a Lake Oswego resident. Skof was injured when Hanna, who later admitted to driving under the influence, hit Skof with his car and then fled the scene.
According to the discovery documents presented at mediation, in May 2010, Skof was riding his bicycle home when he was hit from behind and injured by Hanna’s black Porsche Cayenne SUV. After hitting Skof, Hanna then drove away without stopping to aid Skof, who lay unconscious and bleeding on the road.
Witnesses to the event said Hanna was driving erratically at over 80 mph, and actually sped up after he hit the bicyclist. Several drivers passing by stopped and called 911 for an ambulance, and Skof was rushed to the hospital for treatment.
“Not only did Hanna make the decision to drive after drinking – he made the decision to leave Skof when he was seriously injured. This shows a level of negligence and disregard for other people’s lives that cannot be allowed in Portland if we want to keep our roads safe,” said Skof’s attorney Sean DuBois.
According to the forensic engineer’s report of the accident, “The Porsche made direct contact with parts of Mr. Skof’s body while other forces were applied to his body as it struck the ground. This damage was consistent with the Porsche having overtaken the bicycle from behind and then scraping along its left side…”
This is not Hanna’s first run-in with the law. Hanna, a prominent Oregon businessman and owner the Mt. Hood Skibowl, has been charged with unlawful possession of a weapon, driving uninsured, and driving with a suspended license – all acts that show blatant disregard for Oregon law and safety procedures.
He has also received over 50 parking tickets, 8 speeding tickets, been accused of drunk driving, and 2003 hit-and-run DUII charges were dismissed on a technicality, according to an article by Anna Griffin from the Oregonian. None of these previous offenses were enough to teach Hanna a lesson.
According to news sources, the day after Mr. Skof was hit, an attorney went to Portland police with keys to the SUV and gave them the location of the vehicle, but no name. After inspecting the Porsche, police knew 1) it had been involved in a serious crash, and 2) that it belonged to Kirk Hanna.
Hanna did not turn himself in. Rather, after a carefully negotiated compromise plea deal between his lawyers and the District Attorney, he pleaded guilty to, and was convicted of Failure to Perform Duties of a Driver, Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants, and Assault-4.
Hanna said in his guilty plea, “I drove a motor vehicle on a public roadway while under the influence of intoxicants, was involved in an accident that resulted in damage to a vehicle that was driven & attended to by Mr. Skof, knowingly failed to immediately stop vehicle, and recklessly caused physical injury to Mr. Skof.”
Skof received compensation for both the injuries he sustained and the pain and suffering he endured. His physical injuries included broken teeth, ankle and foot trauma, a damaged knee joint, a torn ACL, a broken scapula, and back trauma – all in addition to the psychological damage inflicted by the event. The $500,000 settlement also represented compensation for non-economic damages like pain and suffering.
“Hit and run victims are often left emotionally scarred,” said DuBois. “My client has had to seek therapy after the trauma of being left to lie in the road like a piece of trash, through Mr. Hanna’s neglect.”
Before the hit and run accident, Skof was a serious athlete with life-long training in gymnastics and a passion for cycling. After being hit from behind by Hanna, he has trouble sleeping, is still seeking treatment for pain, and has symptoms of PTSD. According to medical records, the economic damages for bills and expenses were over $180,000.
The Oregon Department of Transportation’s statistics on drunk driving show a disturbing trend: each year over 25,000 people are arrested for driving under the influence. Additionally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 11% of all car accidents are hit and runs.