BARTOW | The family of a Lakeland mother who died in a head-on collision three years ago won a $4.53 million jury verdict Friday against the driver whose road rage contributed to the deadly crash.
The six jurors decided Joshua Moore was 10 percent responsible for the collision that killed Amy Krupp, 30, and left her 10-year-old son, Aaron Orr, in a wheelchair with a traumatic brain injury.
The remaining 90 percent rests with Richard Waters, who was sentenced to 22 years in prison last year after he was found guilty of vehicular homicide, leaving the scene of a fatal accident and two counts of reckless driving.
Lawyers for Krupp’s family said they’d reached an undisclosed out-of-court settlement with Waters’ insurance company.
In their verdict Friday, jurors decided the Krupp family should receive $45.3 million for Amy Krupp’s death and her son’s injuries, but their decision to hold Moore only 10 percent responsible for the crash reduced that verdict to $4.53 million.
Jurors specified in the verdict how that money should be divided among Krupp’s survivors, including her daughter and injured son. They awarded $32.3 million for Aaron Orr’s care and his pain and suffering, or $3.23 million after the verdict is reduced.
Krupp and her son were going south on U.S. 98 near Illinois Avenue, just south of Combee Road, on May 11, 2010, when their 2007 Ford Fusion was struck head-on by Moore’s red, 2002 Dodge Ram pickup truck. Witnesses told police a white truck, driving north on U.S. 98, repeatedly swerved toward Moore’s truck, causing the red truck to lose control, cross the median and collide with Krupp’s car.
Moore, 24, of Bartow, had left Polk State College moments earlier, witnesses said, and pulled into the path of Waters’ 1997 GMC pickup truck. Waters sped up and cut Moore’s truck off, witnesses said, prompting Moore to speed up. Lawyers for Krupp’s family told jurors this week the two men shared the blame for the collision.
T.R. Unice Jr., a Palm Harbor lawyer representing Moore, said the responsibility rested solely with Waters. Moore never faced criminal charges for his involvement in the collision.
During closing arguments Friday, Unice told jurors Moore had sped up to pass Waters, who was driving aggressively and dangerously.
Tampa lawyer Web Brennan, representing the Krupp family, told jurors they should hold Moore responsible for his actions leading up to the collision.
“It was a road confrontation,” Brennan said in closing arguments. “You don’t have to be angry when you run a stop sign or a red light. You just have to be stupid. He (Moore) is responsible.”
Jurors deliberated about two hours Friday before rendering their verdict.
Greg Kyser, Amy Krupp’s husband, said he was pleased with the jury’s decision, even at 10 percent responsibility.
“We didn’t care about 100 percent, we didn’t care about 5 percent,” he said Friday. “In his (Moore’s) heart, he will know that he’s responsible for what happened to our family. He hasn’t taken responsibility for what he did. Maybe now he will.”
Moore declined comment after Friday’s verdict.
Brian Orr, Aaron’s father, said he wanted Moore to take responsibility.
“I can go home and tell my little boy that justice has been served,” he said. That’s what he’s been waiting on. He (Moore) has to take responsibility for what he did.”