$1.14M settlement awarded to family of highway accident victim

By Terri Flagg - tflagg@civitasmedia.com

WINSTON-SALEM — The family of a Surry County couple killed in a 2014 wreck on U.S. 52 will soon be awarded a $1.14 million settlement.

Jesse and Felicia Hickman, of Mount Airy, died from injuries sustained in the six-car pileup near Westinghouse Road in Tobaccoville.

The wrongful death settlement on their behalf “should conclude within the next few days,” said James Welsh Jr., a Winston-Salem attorney.

“The matter is settled,” said Welsh, who represents the driver of the 18-wheeler that caused the wreck, Kelly Scott Kennedy, as well as Stout Trucking Co., of Greensboro, and National Interstate Insurance Company.

On Monday, a Forsyth County Superior Court Judge okayed a $1.14 settlement for the family of 9-year-old Jeremy Crymes, who was also killed in the wreck.

The Hickman settlement does not require judicial approval, Welsh said.

Dudley Witt, Winston-Salem attorney representing the estate of Felicia Hickman, said the woman’s portion of the $1.14 million settlement will go to her children, Michael and Wendy Penn, of Pinnacle.

Both attorneys noted that the matter was able to be resolved without a trial or without victims having to compete for proceeds.

“This is a very tragic set of circumstances,” Welsh said.

According to an Oct. 30, 2014, report issued by the N.C. State Highway Patrol, Kennedy was heading north on U.S. 52 when he came upon a long line of stopped traffic. He ran into the Crymes’s vehicle, knocking the family’s van off the right shoulder, where it flipped over the guardrail.

Kennedy’s truck continued north, striking the Hickman’s automobile and then two additional vehicles, one of which collided into yet another.

Felicia Hickman lingered for 17 days in Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center before succumbing, Witt said.

A sibling of Jeremy Crymes was also injured in the incident, according to Welsh.

According to the highway patrol report, Kenneth Mitchell Leftwich, and Bobby Ray Wilson, both of Mount Airy, were also involved in the collision.

“Everyone involved in these cases were trying very hard from the beginning to work together,” Welsh said, adding that “It’s never going to replace the lives that were lost.”

Witt agreed, referring to the opposing attorneys as “not your usual insurance defense types.”

Stout Trucking Co. contributed $300,000 out-of-pocket beyond the $2 million insurance policy proceeds, Witt said.

Kennedy, 51, faces three counts of felonious involuntary manslaughter for which he is scheduled to appear in Forsyth County court on Nov. 7.

By Terri Flagg


Reach Terri Flagg at 415-4734.

Reach Terri Flagg at 415-4734.

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