Las Vegas, NV
A Clark County jury awarded $2 million to a woman run over in a road rage incident in a Target parking lot in Las Vegas. Jean Kohl suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI), spine and ankle injuries when she was run over by a pickup truck owned by a local business, Dakem and Associates, driven by its employee, Edward Reed. Mr. Reed left work in the company truck and spent several hours drinking with a friend before getting into the Dakem truck and driving around the streets of Las Vegas. Prior to running down Ms. Kohl, at least one witness called 911 to report that Mr. Reed was driving drunk. Mr. Reed and his friend decided to stop to buy more beer. While the friend was in the store, Mr. Reed drove recklessly through the parking lot almost hitting a car being driven by Jean Kohl’s boyfriend who honked and swore at Mr. Reed. Mr. Reed jumped from the Dakem truck ripped his shirt off and began hitting and kicking the car Ms. Kohl was in. The altercation escalated when Ms. Kohl’s boyfriend parked and got out of his car to confront Mr. Reed. Ms. Kohl attempted to get between the two men to deescalate the situation. Mr. Reed climbed behind the wheel of the Dakem pickup truck, hit the gas, and ran Ms. Kohl down. Without stopping, Mr. Reed fled the scene nearly hitting an off duty police office and his wife head on in the process. Mr. Reed avoided apprehension by law enforcement, and hid throughout the night. Once sober, the next morning Mr. Reed went to the police and attempted to explain his conduct by claiming that he was acting in self-defense.
At trial the defense argued that Mr. Reed was justified and acting in self-defense, and that Ms. Kohl and her boyfriend were at fault and caused Ms. Kohl’s injuries because they decided to get out of their car and continue the confrontation. The jury rejected these arguments and found Mr. Reed at fault, the cause of Ms. Kohl’s injuries, and responsible for her damages. The jury found Dakem liable for the conduct of its employee, Mr. Reed. The jury awarded $522,086 in past and future medical costs and $1.5 million in past and future pain and suffering. Additionally, the jury found that punitive damages were warranted. Just before the start of the punitive damages phase of the trial, the case settled for a confidential amount.