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City settles with family of woman run over by wastewater truck for $250,000

FILE - Susan Tyler-Babkirk, Women's Hearth program director, stands with a front window where the artwork of Stephanie Meier is displayed on the inside glass, March, 4, 2015, in downtown Spokane, Wash. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
FILE - Susan Tyler-Babkirk, Women's Hearth program director, stands with a front window where the artwork of Stephanie Meier is displayed on the inside glass, March, 4, 2015, in downtown Spokane, Wash. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

The family of a homeless woman struck and killed by a city wastewater truck while sleeping on the side of the road on a snowy morning in March 2015 will receive a $250,000 settlement.

The City Council unanimously approved the amount for the family of Stephanie R. Meier on Monday night. City Councilman Breean Beggs abstained from the vote.

Meier’s eight children and her husband will receive payments of a little less than $15,000 apiece, according to terms of the settlement published in Spokane County Superior Court. Attorney fees totaled nearly $117,000 of the negotiated amount.

Mark Harris, one of the Spokane attorneys representing the family, declined comment on the case through an assistant. William Maxey, another legal representative of the family, did not return a call requesting comment on the settlement amount.

Meier received services at House of Charity and the Women’s Hearth downtown shelter in the years before her death. Residents and volunteers at both centers remembered her as a talented artist and a positive force following her death on a chilly morning off Geiger Boulevard on March 3, 2015.

About an inch of snow had fallen the night before Meier was killed. She was sleeping in a sleeping bag and “easily visible in the clear sunny morning,” according to a lawsuit filed against the city. Crews were in the area to fix a localized flooding issue, according to the city.

The city worker who was driving the wastewater truck that morning was never criminally charged in the incident. Brian Coddington, a spokesman for the city, said he was given training and counseling following the incident. He remains employed as a wastewater specialist with the city, according to payroll records.

Both Mayor Condon and the City Council agreed to include an additional $250,000 in the 2017 budget to address homelessness, which was used to help launch a 24/7 shelter program in the city.

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