The family of a northwest Iowa woman has settled a lawsuit for a record eight million dollars — believed the largest in Iowa history.The family of 38-year-old Diane Reitz of Battle Creek had sued Michael Buchanan and North Central Construction of Fargo, North Dakota, in connection with a traffic accident in March of last year that left Reitz in a permanent vegetative state. According to the lawsuit, Buchanan was driving a pickup, ran a four-way stop sign at a rural intersection, and broadsided a car driven by Reitz. The suit contended Buchanan had been drinking and sought compensation for negligence and recklessness. Buchanan had been convicted of seven previous drunk driving charges and at the time of the accident, his Iowa driver’s license was suspended. In December, Buchanan pleaded guilty to serious injury by vehicle and was sentenced to five years in prison. Attorney Steve Hamilton of Storm Lake says Reitz suffered a brain injury and now lives in a nursing home.
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