State starts getting lawsuit notices from drivers who crashed on 217 flyover ramp

State starts getting lawsuit notices from drivers who crashed on 217 flyover ramp »Play Video
A car approaches the bridge joint on the ramp from Interstate 5 north to Highway 217.

LAKE OSWEGO, Ore. -- The notice to sue filed on behalf of one man doesn't blame the faulty metal joint itself for causing the accident involved.

Instead, the claim notes "failure of ODOT to provide adequate warning of the defect on the roadway."

Attorney Greg Kafoury filed that tort claim notice for driver David Knighten, who crashed on the Highway 217 flyover ramp May 8. Kafoury says anyone making a claim has to prove the state was more than 50 percent responsible for causing a crash.

“And so, you know, how fast the driver is going is a factor,” Kafoury said. “Whether it's day or night's a factor, and how good the sign is is a factor. I mean why doesn't it say 'roadway defect. Slow down immediately' or something that really grabs you?”

Kafoury maintains the ramp is still not as safe as it could be. He claims ODOT could be doing even more to protect drivers from hazards caused by the defective roadway joint.

“The state is facing liabilty because they haven't fixed it,” Kafoury said. “Because they haven't perhaps closed-off one of the lanes, because they haven't got a sign yet that's adequate to warn people there's something wrong with this road.”

ODOT recently backed off claims that the raised bridge joint on the ramp from Interstate 5 north to Highway 217 contributed to the crashes. The department doesn’t have a timeline for finishing its investigation into a possible link.