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Man Awarded $6.1 Million in Crash, Trucker Claims Brakes Failed After Repair

A man injured in a Wyoming semi-truck accident in 2019 received a multi-million-dollar award this week. However, the truck driver involved asserts that the big rig’s brakes failed shortly after leaving the repair shop where they were serviced.

On November 2, a jury in Natrona County granted Nicholas Skalicky $6.1 million in damages following a trial, as reported by Oil City News. Skalicky’s wife was also awarded $300,000.

The accident took place on September 9, 2019, in Casper, Wyoming. At the time, truck driver George Dickerson, aged 61, was employed by Magic City Stoves. He had just picked up owner Steve Schicketanz’s 1998 Volvo from Tire-Rama, where it had been serviced for brake issues.

Dickerson testified that he had tested the truck’s brakes after retrieving it from the shop. However, he informed the court that as he continued to drive the Volvo away from the shop, he realized he had lost control of his brakes.

Dickerson explained that he had attempted everything he could think of to stop the Volvo but could only engage the engine brake and downshift before colliding with Skalicky’s car at a traffic light.

The Volvo covered a quarter of a mile between the time when Dickerson reported brake failure and when it struck a Nissan driven by Skalicky.

Skalicky reported suffering major injuries and now experiences severe back pain.

Skalicky’s legal team argued that the crash resulted from Dickerson’s inattention.

Steve Schicketanz’s son, Steve Schicketanz Jr., testified that the Volvo had experienced a brake failure incident in late August 2019, prompting the visit to the repair shop. Schicketanz Jr. claimed to have driven the Volvo multiple times since the accident without brake issues.

An expert witness for the plaintiff stated that only one front brake was functional during the accident. A mechanic presented by the defense attested that three brakes were operational on the day of the crash.

The jury determined that Dickerson bore 85% responsibility for the injury crash, with Tire-Rama responsible for the remaining 15%.

It’s worth noting that Dickerson is currently in custody on unrelated second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder charges, which involve an alleged double stabbing of family members.