Niagara County, New York settled the case of Glenn Annalora who died when his vehicle was struck by a speeding deputy sheriff for nearly $3 million. This settlement required the approval of the Niagara County Legislature, which voted unanimously this week to settle the case with the man’s widow. The county was liable because the deputy was on duty when the incident occurred.
In October, 2015, Deputy James Bissell was driving southbound when he ran a stop sign and crashed into Glenn Annalora’s vehicle which was heading eastbound on an intersecting road. The patrol car’s black box showed that Deputy Bissell was driving 74 miles per hour and turned his overhead lights on a mere five seconds before the crash. Deputy Bissell hit the brakes and was traveling at 53 miles per hour at the time of the impact which killed Glenn Annalora. His wife, Mary Annalora, was a passenger in the vehicle and suffered fractured ribs and vertebrae from the crash.
Deputy Bissell was not responding to a call when the crash occurred. His head was injured in the incident and he claims he cannot remember what happened. Deputy Bissell resigned two months after the crash and pleaded guilty to running a stop sign, imprudent speeding and failure to yield the right of way. He had only been a deputy for 39 days when the incident occurred.
The Assistant County Attorney, John Ottaviano, who represented the county in the settlement with Mary Annalora, told The Buffalo News that this case was not a question of fault, but focused on damages due to the incident.
The $2.75 million settlement payment to Mary Annalora accounted for nearly 12 percent of the county’s surplus funds. If the case did not settle this week, the settlement deal would have been voided and the case would have gone to trial at the end of September.