Spokane County has settled its case with the family of a Spokane teenager, whose death was blamed on a Spokane County Sheriff's Deputy. The settlement awards the family $1 million.
In May 2014, Ryan Holyk, who was 15 years old at the time, was riding his bike through a Spokane Valley intersection. At the same time, Deputy Joseph Bodman was responding to a call, driving at a high rate of speed without his lights or sirens. Evidence at the scene indicated Bodman's bumper hit Holyk in the head after he fell or jumped from his bike.
Now, nearly three years after his tragic death, Holyk's family can start to heal.
“It is the start of closure for them. No amount of money is going to perform a miracle and bring their child back,” Mike Maurer, the Holyk family's attorney, said.
The Spokane County Sheriff's Office was told Tuesday that the Holyk family contacted the mediator through Maurer, saying they want to settle. It's a move that surprised Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich.
“I feel that this should have gone to trial because that is the only way that the facts ultimately come out in totality,” Knezovich said during a press conference Wednesday.
The sheriff's office remains steady in their belief that Deputy Bodman's actions did not cause Holyk's death. His family says otherwise.
“The investigation was done correctly. The investigation had all the materials that both sides used an ultimately, I think it was the strength of that investigation that caused this to be resolved,” Knezovich said.
“You don't pay a million dollars if you're a defendant unless you're concerned about how the evidence is going to come out in front of the jury,” Maurer said.
Despite a resolution to this case, Holyk's death is something both his family and Deputy Bodman will live with for the rest of their lives.
“This allows them to move forward with the knowledge that the county has recognized that their employee struck Ryan, which caused his death,” Maurer said.
The settlement is pending agreement on both sides. Once it's finalized, the civil case will be closed.
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