A Waco woman and her daughter who were injured in a December 2016 traffic collision in Robinson have settled their lawsuit with an auto dealership and its former employee, who was driving drunk and caused the wreck.
April Bearden and her attorney, John Mabry Jr., and attorneys for Marstaller Motors and its former employee, Ronald William Coronado, were in court Wednesday morning, where 170th State District Judge Jim Meyer approved the $30,000 settlement for Bearden’s minor daughter.
Bearden, who was injured more seriously in the wreck than her daughter, was seeking at least $200,000 in the lawsuit. Mabry said the defendants and their insurance carriers insisted that the settlement with Bearden be confidential.
Dallas attorney Allison Maynard, who represents Marstaller Motors, and Fort Worth attorney Matthew McLain, who represents Coronado, both declined comment after the settlement hearing.
Pat Hanna, co-owner of Marstaller Motors, said she was unaware of Wednesday’s hearing and also declined comment on the lawsuit settlements. She said Coronado is no longer employed there.
“Marstaller Motors and their employee made some serious mistakes,” Mabry said after the hearing. “Unfortunately, their insurance company refused to negotiate in good faith, which forced us to file a lawsuit. That was unfortunate for everyone. But ultimately, we were able to work out a satisfactory settlement for Ms. Bearden and her daughter. Our clients are pleased, and it was a privilege to represent them.”
The lawsuit charged that Coronado was drunk and had an invalid driver’s license when he drove the dealership’s Ford F-150 pickup into the back of Bearden’s Ford Expedition at a red light at Loop 340 and Old Robinson Road.
After the collision, Robinson police arrested Coronado for DWI and driving with an invalid license. He pleaded guilty in October 2017 to an enhanced DWI charge because his blood-alcohol level was more than 0.15%, the suit states.
That DWI arrest was Coronado’s second within a year. He also was arrested in February 2016 for DWI and pleaded guilty to DWI with a blood-alcohol level more than 0.15%, according to the lawsuit.
Coronado did not attend Wednesday’s hearing. He said in June 2018, after the lawsuit was filed, that he was returning to work at Marstaller after not working there for about a year. He apologized for the incident and said he has paid his debt to society.
“I am sorry that all this happened,” Coronado said in June 2018. “I did do my debt to society. I did house arrest and had a breath monitor on me for almost five months. I completed everything and took full responsibility for what happened. I am not trying to dodge anything. I am real sorry all this happened and I have learned my lesson.”
April Bearden suffered head, neck, abdomen, elbow and wrist injuries. She required five months of physical and occupational therapy on her wrist and suffered a lacerated chin that required multiple stitches, Mabry said.
Her daughter, who was 12 at the time, suffered abdomen, pelvis and leg injures that required two months of physical therapy, he said.