Sheriff settles lawsuit

A lawsuit against a Moffat County Sheriff's deputy that sought nearly $400,000 in damages has been settled out of court, Moffat County Sheriff Buddy Grinstead said Thursday.

A mediation hearing Wednesday ended the lawsuit, which accused Deputy Courtland Folks of negligence in a traffic accident that injured Craig resident Tony Maneotis and his daughter, Mackenzie.

Grinstead did not comment on the amount of money involved in the settlement but aid he was preparing a statement on the matter. Maneotis and his attorney were not available for comment.

The plaintiffs asked for $300,000 on behalf of Tony Maneotis, who suffered a broken neck, lost income, emotional distress, permanent disability and other losses, according to the lawsuit. Mackenzie Maneotis suffered soft tissue injury, rib sprains and permanent disability, according to the lawsuit. Her losses exceeded $75,0000, according to the lawsuit.

The accident occurred the morning of Feb. 7, 2003. Folks was responding to a dispatch concerning a heart attack victim. Folks ran a red light while driving north on County Road 13. As he entered the intersection of Victory Way and Colorado Highway 13, his vehicle was struck from the side by Maneotis' vehicle. Maneotis was eastbound on U.S. Highway 40.

Folks was acquitted of a $35 traffic ticket in October 2003. But the judge who decided the case said he thought both parties were to blame. Judge James Garrecht said it was "foolhardy" for Maneotis to enter the intersection if he heard sirens but said the accident was Folks' fault, as well.

The judge said the case properly belonged in the civil arena, where percentages of blame could be assigned. Folks' attorney's fees in the traffic hearing amounted to $5,000. Insurance covered $2,000. After the traffic hearing, Grinstead said he supported his deputy's right to contest the case and said he had a legal responsibility to pay employees' legal fees. Grinstead, however, referred to the wreck as a "dual fault accident."

The civil case had been set for a November jury trial.

Jeremy Browning can be reached at 824-7031 or jbrowning@craigdailypress.com

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