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Home / Verdicts & Settlements / Settlement reached for young teacher injured by driver’s ill-timed lane change 

Settlement reached for young teacher injured by driver’s ill-timed lane change 

$1.075 million settlement

A woman who suffered life-altering spinal injuries when a drunk driver struck her car reached a $1.075 million settlement prior to litigation, according to her attorney.

Greg Klote of Halvorsen Klote in St. Louis said his client, Cassandra McKeown, was in the passenger seat of her grandmother’s vehicle on Sept. 23, 2019. While traveling east on Missouri Highway 364, Christopher Davis struck the rear right of the grandmother’s vehicle while changing lanes, causing it to slide off the road. The rear of the vehicle struck the concrete traffic median.

Klote said his client suffered injuries to the L5 to S1 discs and that she developed cauda equina syndrome, in which nerve roots are compressed. She would alternate between having terrible pain and completely losing feeling in her legs. Eventually, her condition reached dangerous levels, and she was rushed to the ER, where a surgeon told her that if she had waited even another two days she would have irreversibly lost control of her bladder and bowels.

McKeown needed to learn how to sit up with help, use a walker, and get comfortable getting help to shower. The 24-year-old had been a preschool teacher and a dance instructor, but Klote said her ability to play with and pick up kids is no longer an option, and that she will never dance again like she did before the crash.

“The accident changed every aspect of her life and she will never be the same person as before,” he said.

Davis had been driving a work vehicle for Brake Landscaping & Lawncare. Klote said Davis was coming from a golf tournament and that his employer knew he was driving a company vehicle after drinking. According to court records, Davis pleaded guilty on March 4, 2021, in St. Charles County Circuit Court to driving while intoxicated and was given two years of probation.

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Motor Vehicle Collision

Venue: St. Charles County

Case Number/Date: Not filed/Oct. 27, 2022

Special Damages: $95,720.00 past medical, $370,938.43 future medical

Insurer: FCCI Insurance Group

Caption: Cassandra McKeown v. Christopher Davis and Brake Landscaping & Lawncare Inc.

Plaintiff’s Attorneys: Greg Klote and Joel Halvorsen, Halvorsen Klote, St. Louis