While riding to class in September 2013, Ohio State University Freshman James Hughes was hit by a dump truck near the entrance to a construction site on campus. Hughes lost his right leg in the accident and suffered severe pelvic damage.
The accident occurred near the new construction site on the Woodruff Avenue site for the $126 million Chemical Biomolecular Engineering building. A gate at the work site was left open and construction vehicles had rented a new dumpster, were entering and exiting the site without security workers, according to the court documents. The documents went on to add that the crash was foreseeable and Ohio State did nothing to prevent it.
According to the Columbus Dispatch, the OSU police conducted an investigation and the report they released concluded that the police should not seek criminal action against Isaac Hinton, the driver of the dump truck. Hughes was riding his bike on the sidewalk, instead of in the street, was in Hinton’s blind spot and didn’t see the truck turning until an accident was unavoidable. The report’s conclusion was based on witness statements and other evidence.
Hughes and his family filed suit against the university, the contracting companies working on the job and the driver of the dump truck. Hughes said in court documents that he “sustained and will sustain past and future medical expenses, great pain and suffering, permanent injuries, temporary and permanent disability, humiliation, embarrassment, loss of enjoyment of life and future lost wages.”
On December 12, the Ohio Court of Claims approved the settlement between Ohio State and Hughes and his family. Under terms of the settlement, Hughes agreed to drop all pending claims and not file future claims involving the accident.
Ohio State does not have to admit to any wrongdoing in the agreement and no part of the settlement agreement can be used against OSU in any other legal proceeding.
Hughes was one of three students critically injured in either bicycle or pedestrian incidents during that semester. The incidents led to a campus-wide safety campaign and enforcement of jaywalking infractions by the police.