The Pine Cone's fourth story of the week

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Driver who killed young dad offers to settle for $200,000

By KELLY NIX

Published: April 9, 2010

THE WOMAN who fatally injured Pacific Grove father Joel Woods by striking him with her BMW SUV while he was picking his son up from middle school has offered to pay $200,000 to settle a civil lawsuit filed by Woods’ family.

King was driving down Forest Avenue Sept. 2, 2008, when she struck Woods, who was picking up his then-12-year-old son, Jacob, in front of the P.G. Middle School. King, who police say was driving under the influence of prescription drugs, was arrested and later charged with manslaughter. She is awaiting trial.

On March 2, 2009, Woods’ widow, Adrianna Woods, filed a civil lawsuit against King and the P.G. Unified School District, alleging the school “negligently located, designed, controlled and maintained the drop-off/pickup area in front of Pacific Grove Middle School” where Woods was killed.

According to Monterey County Superior Court records, however, King wants to settle her part of the case and has offered $100,000 to Jacob Woods, $90,000 to Adrianna Woods and $10,000 to her other son, Nathan Woods.

According to court documents, Jacob Woods has already been allocated his $100,000 portion.

But a PGUSD attorney filed a motion opposing the settlement offer contending it “would be grossly disproportionate” since King “bears all (or nearly all) liability” for the crash, court records say. “Ms. King is settling a multi-million lawsuit for $200,000, which bears no relationship to her potential liability,” according the motion filed by PGUSD attorney David W. Balch.

PGUSD requested King’s motion to settle the case be continued to allow for discovery into King’s insurance coverage and financial condition. A July 16 hearing has been set in a Monterey courtroom to discuss the settlement.

King is Monterey County Jail on $1 million bail. Though she was earlier found not to be competent to stand trial, in December, a judge found she was competent.

Though there were hopes by the Woods family and others that PGUSD would change the location of the pickup and drop-off area from busy Forest Avenue to a safer street, the district has not changed the location.

Flowers are still placed on a power pole in front of the middle school to remember Woods.