LISBON - A child paralyzed in a 2009 traffic crash which also killed the child's mother will receive $500,000 as part of a settlement.
Brent Baker, the husband of former West Branch teacher Jennifer Baker, who died in the crash, filed the lawsuit on behalf of his son, Jacob Baker. According to the settlement, Baker has or will receive $12,500 from State Farm Insurance, the insurance company of Rikki Wheatley III, the driver of the other vehicle.
The agreement states Jacob Baker will be entitled to an additional $487,500 from Wheatley, 22, who is currently serving two and a half years in prison for charges relating to the traffic accident. His licence has been suspended for eight years.
Baker, 33, a West Branch third grade teacher, was killed early in the morning on Nov. 19, 2009, when Wheatley reportedly went left of center on Rochester Road. Her then 7-year-old son, Jacob, was seriously injured. Her daughter, Madilynn, then 4, had minor injuries.
Although Wheatley reportedly admitted to smoking marijuana the night before, in the civil agreement it was noted the damages are not the result of Wheatley driving while intoxicated from alcohol, a drug or another substance. It also states the damages are not the result of willful or malicious injury caused by Wheatley.
A blood test had reportedly showed only latent amounts of the chemicals from marijuana found in Wheatley's system, not active ones. The initial indictment had indicated Wheatley was impaired by marijuana when driving. However, Wheatley had pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide and aggravated vehicular assault.