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Montana highway patrol settles with Wyoming man over crash

| February 4, 2022 7:00 AM

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The state of Montana has reached a $270,000 settlement with a Wyoming man who was forced into a ditch to avoid colliding with a state trooper who made an illegal U-turn.

The settlement between Montana and plaintiff Mitch Burgess was filed in Lewis and County District Court, the Montana State News Bureau reported. It comes after Judge Kathy Seeley ordered sanctions in the case when the highway patrol said it lost video footage of the crash that was later found.

In August 2017, the trooper had just completed a traffic stop near Miles City when he made a U-turn in front of Burgess' fast-moving pick up truck, causing Burgess to swerve into a ditch before returning to the highway.

Burgess alleged in a lawsuit filed two years after the crash that he suffered a concussion and spinal injury.

Plaintiff's lawyer Michael McLean said the settlement came as the two sides were set to go to trial last month. He said Burgess is scheduled for another back surgery resulting from the crash.