Suit filed in deadly Loop 101 collision - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Suit filed in deadly Loop 101 collision

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Posted: Thursday, June 15, 2006 6:13 am | Updated: 3:05 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

An attorney representing the family of a prominent Scottsdale entrepreneur killed in a two-car crash on Loop 101 hopes to get more answers about the collision by going to court.

Attorney Michael Poli, representing the family of Terry Dunlap, filed a lawsuit in Maricopa County Superior Court last week against the motorist whose car crashed into Dunlap’s.

Dunlap, cofounder of GoVideo, was southbound on Loop 101 on April 22 when Clifford J. Lomahaftewa Jr.’s vehicle crashed through the cable barriers and into Dunlap’s car, court documents show. Dunlap’s wife is recuperating from the crash, Poli said.

The crash happened at the McKellips Road interchange in the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.

Go-Video produced dual-deck video cassette recorders, which Dunlap invented in 1986. Dunlap left the company in 1994, and Go-Video later changed its name to Sensory Science Corp.

In the lawsuit, Poli claims Lomahaftewa’s negligent driving was one of the causes of the collision.

Lomahaftewa’s place of residence wasn’t available Wednesday.

Poli said he also is preparing to file a notice of a lawsuit against the state, claiming that the cable barriers that separate the freeway’s lanes are ineffective.

Poli said he filed the lawsuit so he could summons Arizona Department of Public Safety officials and ask questions about the crash.

DPS assisted Salt River police at the scene, then turned over the investigation to the Salt River agency, Poli said.

Poli said he hasn’t received a report from Salt River police despite requesting one on May 1.

Poli’s request for an initial report was denied by Karl Auerbach, acting Salt River police chief on May 11, according to a Salt River police document Poli faxed to The Tribune.

“Right now, we’re trying to do our own investigation,” Poli said. “We want to use subpoena power to get information from DPS, who initially investigated the accident. They have pictures and information from the accident, but when we requested them, DPS told us that the Salt River police requested they don’t release it. We don’t even know if Clifford Lomahaftewa was cited.”

No one at the Indian community’s offices was available for comment Wednesday because it was a tribal holiday, a police department office worker said.

No DPS officials who could provide information on the crash were available for comment Wednesday.

From the time of the collision, Dunlap’s family had 180 days to file a notice of a claim of a lawsuit with Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard’s office.

Poli said Wednesday he is preparing the claim letter and could better complete it once he knows more details about the collision.

“The tribe hasn’t let us know anything,” Poli said. “It’s made our job a lot harder.”

A memorial service for Dunlap, whose family created a Web site, www.terrendunlap.com, is scheduled for June 24, Poli said.

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