FedEx, Bridgestone Settle 2014 Fatal Wyoming Crash Lawsuits

CHEYENNE, Wyoming  — Federal lawsuits filed last year against Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations and FedEx Ground Package Systems Inc. in connection with a triple-fatal collision that happened here on Interstate 80 have settled out of court.

James Ednie and his longtime partner, Tanya Gooden, and Gooden’s adult special needs son, Cameron, all of Cheyenne, died in November 2014 after an out-of-control FedEx tractor-trailer with pup trailer struck the Dodge Caravan minivan Ednie was driving nearly head on.

The couple left behind their 11-year-old daughter, Jaide, who was not with them at the time of the collision.

Ednie was well-known in Cheyenne for being an active advocate for suicide prevention in Wyoming and the full-time caretaker for Gooden’s son.

An investigation revealed the westbound tractor-trailer’s left front tire failed, sending the vehicle careening through the median near the College Drive exit.

The driver of the Freightliner tractor-trailer combination unit was 55-year-old Brian D. Kehler of Alpine, Utah.

Gooden’s adult daughter, Alodie Gooden, and Ednie’s sister, Gina Cubillos, filed wrongful death lawsuits in the U.S. District Court of Wyoming less than a month apart on behalf of their lost loved ones.

The complaints named Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations and FedEx Ground Package Systems and were joined for potential trial.

Federal court documents indicate that all attorneys in the case gave the court a verbal notice of a settlement in early April.

On May 25, the parties filed a formal motion to dismiss the suits with prejudice, meaning they cannot be re-filed, saying each side agreed to pay its own attorney fees.

Both lawsuits said the front driver’s side tire of the FedEx tractor failed, causing the tractor and its two trailers to strike Ednie’s van.

Both wrongful death representatives were seeking damages “substantially in excess of $75,000,” to be determined at trial, according to their complaints.

The actual settlement amounts are confidential.

“While we cannot comment on the details surrounding the dismissal of these cases, we can reiterate our commitment to safety and our ongoing sympathy for those most affected by this tragic accident,” FedEx Ground spokesman David Westrick said June 10 by email.

Bridgestone did not return a request for comment.

Kehler, who was driving the tractor-trailer at the time of the collision, also filed a lawsuit in connection with the incident.

His complaint, filed in August 2015, names Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations and Commercial Tire as defendants.

The document says Commercial Tire sold two allegedly faulty Bridgestone tires to FedEx and installed them in August 2014.

Kehler was employed by CLR Transportation and contracted to drive a FedEx tractor with two trailers, according to his complaint.

The lawsuit says Bridgestone’s tire “was in a defective, dangerous condition at the time of its sale” and was “unreasonably dangerous” to Kehler, who was injured in the collision.

The case remains active and currently is set to go to trial in March 2017.