Families of 4 motorcyclists killed in I-29 crash settle lawsuit


January 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The families of four motorcyclists who died in a crash with a drunken driver on Interstate 29 near Little Sioux in 2010, have settled a combined lawsuit with the man who was convicted on four counts of vehicular homicide. According to the Omaha World-Herald, the families accepted an offer made late last year by 23-year old Andrew Schlichtemeier. Barring any late developments, the settlement essentially ends the civil case against the man, who was 21-years old when his pickup crossed the center line of I-29 in a construction zone, and collided with four men on motorcycles who were returning home from Sturgis, S.D. The August 9th, 2010, crash claimed the lives of: Jay Bock of Omaha; Steven Benscoter of Pacific Junction, Iowa; and Dale Aspedon and Dennis Chaney, both of Glenwood, Iowa,

Authorities tested Schlichtemeier’s blood and recorded a blood-alcohol content of more than 4½ times the legal limit. The test also turned up traces of the chemical in marijuana. Investigators found two baggies containing marijuana, eight 12-ounce cans of beer, all unopened, along with an empty 40-ounce bottle of beer in the wreckage of Schlichtemeier’s vehicle, which ended-up on its side after the crash. Schlichtemeier pleaded guilty to four counts of motor vehicle homicide in February 2011. He was later sentenced to 50 years. When he pleaded guilty, Schlichtemeier admitted responsibility in court, with many of the motorcyclists’ loved ones in attendance.

The families of the motorcyclists filed separate lawsuits against Schlichtemeier in the months following the crash, but their cases were later combined. It was settled with mediation last Friday, to divide the amount of proceeds from Schlichtemeier’s car insurance policies he carried at the time. Attorneys would not say how much money the estates of the motorcyclists are dividing, citing conditions of the settlement. District Judge Greg Steensland will oversee the mediation in Council Bluffs.