By Ann Galloway
GREEN BAY, Wis. – Six medical malpractice suits arising from a drunken driver who struck, killed and injured parade watchers during a Waukesha County Menorah lighting ceremony last year were suspended on a motion of their attorneys.
The lawyers on the motions contend it’s too early to determine which individuals are sued, and they’re pleased that the motions are now moving forward.
“The motion was straightforward, asking for each of the cases to be listed and then to move for further mediation,” said attorney John Smol, who represents some of the defendants in the trial.
Dashcam video captured evidence of the crash, which killed three people and left nearly 50 injured. The driver faces over 50 criminal charges, which includes six of first-degree reckless homicide. He’s pleading not guilty.
The families of many of the dead and injured, along with medical staff from the hospital where they were treated, had requested a delay in the cases.
“There have been delays where there has been missing information. There have been delays where there have been new allegations. That would be the basis for a delay,” said Smol.
Raymond was accused of running a red light and causing the crash. Police video shows him swerving in his Ford Escape, then slamming into people as he turned on to the main road and barreled through.
He’s accused of running two red lights and swerving into the path of another car before turning onto Harley Boulevard, narrowly missing a fellow driver who was first on the scene.
One of the victims’ daughters pleaded with the defendant to attend his sentencing hearing. Raymond was described as having struggled with drug and alcohol abuse, and he told a judge he should be spared from having to sit in the courtroom as the families spoke.
The motion signed by attorneys for Raymond acknowledged he should have obeyed the law.
“He really should’ve stayed on I-43. I think the law made it pretty clear that you have to stay on I-43,” said Smol.
The motion acknowledges Raymond left work with what he thought was only a speeding ticket, but he knew it was stolen. He also knew he’d been caught on camera driving drunk, and he knew he had two prior convictions for drunken driving.
“We know the defendant had relevant information that he had a traffic citation and a prior drunk driving conviction,” said Smol.
The motion pointed out that one of the widows signed the first complaint and supported the request for a stay, but then wanted to withdraw the complaint.
“The judge took her signature off the complaint. We still had a complaint. We still had a picture of her in the complaint,” said Smol.
The motion also acknowledged a statement from a court-appointed guardian ad litem that Raymond’s testimony was “inadmissible,” and that means his statements about his drinking habits are inadmissible. Smol says that’s not the same as evidence that he was intoxicated.
“The defendant understands his choice in the moment is to flee from police, and police don’t care about his statement one way or the other. Why should you? And that’s something that we just don’t accept as evidence,” said Smol.
Raymond’s trial is set for October in Waukesha County.