A motorcyclist planning a Navy career has received a $1.25 million settlement after colliding with a vehicle even though he faced several charges in relation to the crash in St. Louis County.
Motorcyclist Troy William Moore, 20, of Eureka, broke his leg and was charged with seven traffic offenses in the wreck, including drunk driving and speeding. Those charges remain pending. In addition to the broken leg, for which he had a steel rod inserted, Moore suffered a herniated disc, traumatic brain injury, vision problems and endocrine dysfunction, the attorney said.
Moore had enlisted in the U.S. Navy and was close to leaving for basic training, plaintiff’s attorney Christopher Finney of Mutrux Finney wrote in an April 26 demand letter in which the insurers’ name was redacted.
“He signed up for eight years,” Finney said. “He was going to make this a career.”
Defendant Mark Van Ronzelen, 45, told Fenton police that Moore’s motorcycle hit his car while he was northbound on Gravois Bluffs Road near Missouri Highway 30. Moore collided with Van Ronzelen when the defendant pulled out in front of the motorcycle just after 7 p.m. on April 14, 2017, according to a submission from Finney.
Minutes earlier, police in the Jefferson County town of Byrnes Mill reported that a motorcycle matching the description of Moore’s had failed to yield at an attempted traffic stop when they saw that his vehicle was not displaying a license.
Police in the town, located 10 miles from Fenton, told their St. Louis County counterparts that they eventually stopped pursuing Moore but watched his bike continue to speed while weaving through traffic and running two red lights.
Moore faces several charges in the Jefferson County town of Byrnes Mill, including failure to yield to an emergency vehicle, speeding, and failure to drive on the right side of the road, Finney said. Several charges related to the crash have been dropped in the city of Fenton, Finney said.
Finney noted that the insurer, whom he declined to identify, potentially faced liability of more than $2 million, based on his expert witness’ determination of Moore’s expected life-care expenses.
Van Ronzelen, 45, of Wentzville, has received coverage in local media due to federal indictments on numerous charges, including impersonating an FBI agent. The plaintiff’s demand letter referenced the recent news coverage of Van Ronzelen’s arrest, suggesting the notoriety “is going to be a mess.”
Finney also noted Van Ronzelen’s status at the time of the crash as a driver with a suspended license.
Katherine Smith of Rynearson, Suess, Schnurbusch & Champion in St. Louis, which represented the insurer, declined comment.
$1.25 million settlement
Motor vehicle collision
Venue: St. Louis County Circuit Court (not filed)
Date: May 7, 2018
Caption: Troy Moore v. Mark Van Ronzelen
Plaintiff’s Attorneys: Christopher Finney, Mutrux Finney, Clayton; Matthew T. Jett, Clayton
Defendant’s Attorney: Katherine Smith; Rynearson, Suess, Schnurbusch & Champion, St. Louis
Plaintiff’s Expert: Dr. Nobert Belz, Springfield (life-care planning)
Defendant’s Expert: Jeff Polster, St. Louis (accident reconstruction)
First Pretrial Offer: $157,235