Scottsdale target of multimillion dollar lawsuit in drunk driver, pedicab crash

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

SCOTTSDALE -- The city of Scottsdale facing a multimillion dollar lawsuit stemming from a horrible crash between a pedicab and a drunk driver about a year ago.

That crash caused the city to change its laws, which now require safety equipment, insurance and licensing for pedicabs. Lawyers for the victims say the city should have had the laws in place before the crash.

Cody Clark and his friend Michael Tysver were tourists from Kansas in town for the Fiesta Bowl when the pedicab they were riding in was hit by a drunk driver. The lawsuit names the drunk driver and the pedicab company, but lawyers for the victims allege Scottsdale is on the hook, too, because officials had discussed the need for pedicab safety regulations years ago, but never enacted anything until after the crash.

The family of Clark, according to the lawsuit, has already paid more than $2 million in medical bills. Clark is still in a rehabilitation facility with no end in sight.

The lawsuit is seeking $51 million for both victims.

Some pedicab drivers, however, don't think the city had anything to do with that crash or that the ordinance makes pedicabs safer.

"In this particular situation, I think the main problem was a drunk driver and an inexperienced, poorly trained operator," Jason Holt, owner of Ecocab, said. "I can still get hit by a drunk driver whether the ordinance is there or not."

In response to the lawsuit, the city of Scottsdale released a statement expressing remorse for the victims and their families but denying the city has any liability in the crash.

"We sympathize with these families as they continue to deal with the outcomes of this tragic accident," Scottsdale City Attorney Bruce Washburn said in the statement. "We will, however, defend the city against these claims. We specifically deny any liability arising from any alleged failure of the city to properly regulate pedicabs."

Earlier this month, Joseph Paul Spano, the man who was behind the wheel of the car that hit the pedicab Clark and Tysver were in, was sentenced to four years in prison on convictions