Settlement reached in fatal wreck

2011-03-02T18:40:00Z 2011-07-22T12:56:51Z Settlement reached in fatal wreckBy Sarah Tompkins, (219) 836-3780

HAMMOND | Just days before heading to trial, the parties involved in the case of a Porter County hit-and-run crash that left a Hobart man dead and his son injured have reached an undisclosed settlement.

In February 2008, Andrew Sajda Sr. and his son, Andrew Sajda Jr., were changing the tire on their Nissan truck when a semi hit the pair -- crushing Sajda Sr.'s skull and breaking his son's back along the Indiana Toll Road. Sajda Sr. died instantly, according to court records.

The Sajda family sued the truck driver and his employer, Ohio-based R&L Transfer Inc., for negligence, according to their complaint. The parties failed to reach a settlement at a conference Monday but were able to resolve the case Tuesday.

The company still denies the allegations the driver drifted over the fog line to hit Sajda and his son. They argued there was no evidence the pair were completely off the road, or that the driver -- who was driving within the speed limit -- was the first vehicle to hit the Sajdas.

"We deny and continue to deny the allegations that were made by the plaintiff," said Ed Hearn, an attorney for the company and its driver. "But we were able to reach an agreeable settlement that made the need for the trial unnecessary."

Hearn declined to talk about the amount of money involved in the settlement, except it was confidential and "an amount that both sides agreed to."

Sajda Jr., who was in his early 30s, had been on his way to work at Mishawaka's Babies R' Us that February morning when his left front tire went flat, according to court records. He called his father, who went to help him on the right side of the highway. The two were struggling with the tire when the truck hit them, according to court records. Sajda Sr., who was about 60 years old at the time, is survived by his wife, children and at least one grandchild.

Terry Rubino, an attorney for the family, was unable to be reached by phone and did not respond to an e-mail.

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