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April 22, 2001 - School Board OK's $1.5 Million For Family

April 22, 2001 - School Board OK's $1.5 Million For Family

Tears welling from her eyes, the mother of 8-year-old school bus accident victim Victor "Jay" Dixon left an Indian River County School Board meeting Thursday with the promise of an uncontested $1.5 million settlement and official apologies.

Sharon McIntosh, mother of the boy killed in the January 1999 crash, said part of the money she expects to receive would go toward teaching other young people what her son would have wanted to learn. "I'm trying to open a scholarship in his name for children wanting to study art," McIntosh said. "He loved to draw." The hour-long meeting alternated between dry legal explanations and emotional messages of sorrow and forgiveness.

School Board Chairman Herb Bailey said that "No amount of money is going to replace Victor Dixon's life," and that "Our school system lost a student and the Dixon family has lost an only son." Board member Craig McGarvey added his condolences. Last summer, a jury awarded Jay's family $2.5 million for its loss.

A jury in another trial awarded $325,000 to the grown children of Sammie Hughes, killed when school bus driver Debbie Colletti ran a stop sign at 66th Avenue and 45th Street and collided with the citrus truck Hughes was driving. Five additional lawsuits are pending from families of children injured in the crash, however, the applicable state law limits the district's liability to $355,000, and that limit has already been reached. It would take an act of the Legislature to exceed that limit.

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