More than four years after her husband suffered severe brain damage in a motorcycle accident on the San Bernardino Freeway, a West Covina woman has received a multimillion-dollar settlement from the California Department of Transportation.
Vicky Koelling sued Caltrans in 1983, alleging that the short, curving Baldwin Park Boulevard on-ramp did not provide drivers sufficient distance to reach freeway speed. The chain-reaction accident in which Monty Koelling became involved began when a slow-moving big-rig truck was unable to merge from the off-ramp.
Caltrans attorney Stanley Gilson said the settlement, which could exceed $15 million over the course of the Koellings' lifetimes, was not an admission of responsibility by the department. Gilson said he wanted to avoid the greater damages that a jury might have awarded had the case gone to trial.