The mother of a man who was killed when an Oregon Department of Transportation worker, who was mowing the shoulder of the road, drove over him is seeking $5 million in a wrongful death complaint filed against the agency.
Marsha Ericson filed the complaint Aug. 31 in Douglas County Circuit Court.
Her son, Keith Ericson, was struck and killed by an ODOT mower on the morning of July 2, 2019. He would have turned 50 on July 4.
According to the complaint, an ODOT employee named Douglas Goodman was operating a John Deer tractor lawnmower that day at about 9:17 a.m. on the shoulder of Highway 42 near milepost 59 when the incident occurred. Milepost 59 is located between Tenmile and Camas Valley.
Ericson was lying in some grass on the shoulder of the highway when Goodman drove over him, according to the complaint.
“Mr. Ericson’s foot was severed and he bled out on the side of the road,” the complaint said. Ericson, who also suffered lacerations to his body, died at the scene.
Authorities who responded to the scene said it appeared that Ericson had been asleep when the incident occurred.
In court documents, Keith Ericson’s listed address was in Huntington Beach, California.
The complaint alleges that Goodman was negligent in one or more of the following:
- Failing to immediately render aid to Ericson.
- Failing to maintain a proper lookout.
- Failing to check the mowing area for objects and obstacles that could be a danger in the area to be mowed.
- Failing to provide adequate notice and signage prior to working in the area.
The complaint seeks $2 million for the emotional pain, dysfunction and disruption of life Keith Ericson suffered; another $2 million for the distress, comfort, consortium, loss of society and companionship Marsha Ericson suffered due to her son’s death; and $1 million more for medical bills, funeral expenses, and lost wages and earning capacity that she incurred due to the incident.
Marsha Ericson, whose listed address is in Southern California, did not return a phone call seeking comment. She is represented by Portland attorney Man Vu, who has requested a jury trial to adjudicate the complaint.
An ODOT spokesperson said the agency doesn’t comment on pending litigation.