On April 22nd, Trey Jay Downey, 49, of Southside, Alabama was riding a bicycle on Hood Road near Linda Lane when he was struck by Jason Lamar Craig, 41. Craig was driving near his home when he reportedly struck Downey from behind. Craig immediately fled the scene of the accident and was later taken into custody and charged with manslaughter. “The police department remains committed to providing an impartial, thorough, and professional investigation into this fatality crash, which has deeply affected our community,” said Southside Acting Police Chief Blake Ragsdale.
A community and a family are all grieving after a bicycle fatality and a manslaughter charge, what happens now?
WBRC Fox6’s LawCall Host, Tiffany Bittner, interviews Attorney Ken Riley.
TIFFANY BITTNER: Ken, a prominent member of the Southside community has lost their life to a bicycle accident. You’ve shared many warning stories with me about how dangerous it is to bike on main roads. What do you recommend for this grieving family and community?
KEN RILEY: His wife, Donna Downey, is going to be consumed by grief for quite some time. Her and her two children will endure life-altering changes after losing their husband and father – my heart aches for them. My recommendation would be to get a good lawyer so that she is well represented in hopes of returning to as normal of a life as possible. I am currently representing a client in a very similar situation, where her husband was struck and killed by a distracted driver while cycling on a main road.
TIFFANY BITTNER: Tell me more about the bike accident case you are currently working on. Are these types of wrongful death cases handled differently than your normal auto accident cases?
KEN RILEY: In this particular situation, the person who struck my client’s deceased husband was prosecuted and pled guilty. We are now litigating with that person, his insurance and our client’s insurance company. One of the things that we do as lawyers is identify all of the available insurance on behalf of the family. Many times, one or more of the insurance companies will try to slow play a client so that they can wear them down and settle for less. Fortunately, we have strong clients who want justice. In a situation like Ms. Downey’s, the civil case will likely be “stayed” or delayed until the criminal aspect of the wreck has resolved. That can take several months or more. Even if a case is stayed, there are things that can be done to continue to move the case along, which is what we try to do in these situations.
TIFFANY BITTNER: If Mr. Craig is convicted of manslaughter, does the criminal investigation change your approach on this case?
KEN RILEY: There are many considerations that go into every case. The simple answer is “yes,” but every case is different, and every strategy is different. We construct a litigation strategy for each case that is subject to change depending on what may happen during the course of litigation leading up to trial. Our goal is to always put our client in the best position possible to recover full damages from the person who caused everything and the insurance companies who have promised to make things right.
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Disclaimer: The intent of this post is to provide general information to our readers and to help improve the safety and quality of life for those who live in our state. At Farris, Riley & Pitt Law Firm, we intend to honor those who are victimized in accidents across Alabama. We aim to provide up to date information to the public surrounding these incidents in hopes of helping others avoid becoming victims themselves. If anyone is involved in an accident, we would like to make sure they know how to respond, should a tragedy occur. Information in this post, should not be considered legal or medical advice. You should seek further assistance from a legal or medical professional if you or a loved one is a victim in an accident. Any photos depicted in these posts are not representative of the actual accident scene.