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Another lawsuit from fatal crash

A man with head injuries from last year’s fatal crash west of Grass Valley filed a lawsuit in Nevada County Superior Court against another driver allegedly involved in the wreck.

Bruce D. Kirkpatrick’s claim against Raymond P. Herve accuses Herve of negligence leading to the March 7, 2001, crash that injured Kirkpatrick and killed a third driver, 22-year-old Jesse Roberts of Grass Valley.



Both Kirkpatrick, 62, of Nevada City and Herve, 46, of Grass Valley later were charged with vehicular manslaughter, and Herve faces trial in May. Kirkpatrick’s case was suspended because he was deemed mentally incompetent.




The lawsuit accuses Herve of reckless driving “based on excessive speed, unsafe lane changes, following too close and unsafe slowing/stopping.” It seeks more than $25,000 in damages and names Kirkpatrick’s wife, Carol, as a fellow plaintiff.

The California Highway Patrol has said Kirkpatrick and Herve raced west on Highway 20 after Kirkpatrick allegedly cut off Herve on southbound Highway 49. Kirkpatrick’s pickup truck later skidded out of control and struck Roberts’ eastbound car.

Kirkpatrick’s lawyer, Dewey Harpainter of Grass Valley, couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday.

Herve’s lawyer, Douglas Kroesch of Sacramento, declined comment.

Kirkpatrick’s suit comes after he recently settled another lawsuit against him filed by Roberts’ parents.

The Roberts’ lawyer, Scott Fielder of Nevada City, didn’t disclose the settlement amount but said it was for the maximum amount of Kirkpatrick’s insurance coverage.

Herve remains a defendant in that lawsuit, which is set for trial in July.

The Roberts’ settled with Kirkpatrick and not Herve, Fielder said, partly because Kirkpatrick is “profoundly disabled.”


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