WELLINGTON, Fla. - Polo club founder John Goodman will no longer argue that the man he killed in a crash near his Wellington polo club may have been partially responsible for the collision.
Goodman this week voluntarily dropped his affirmative defense in a civil lawsuit claiming that 23-year-old Scott Patrick Wilson may have been partially responsible for the Feb. 12 crash at the intersection of 120th Avenue and Lake Worth Road in Wellington, according to Goodman's civil attorney, Dan Bachi.
Wilson's parents are suing Goodman, the wealthy founder of the International Polo Club Palm Beach, for wrongful death in connection with the crash. That lawsuit is set to go to trial in May.
Goodman also faces criminal charges of vehicular homicide, DUI manslaughter and leaving the scene of a crash that could get him up to 30 years in prison if convicted. The criminal trial has not been set for trial date yet and has a status conference this summer.
According to Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office reports, Goodman ran a stop sign at the intersection in his Bentley convertible and hit Wilson, who was driving west on Lake Worth Road and had the right of way. Wilson's Hyundai flipped into a nearby canal where Wilson drowned.
Goodman left the scene and eventually called police about an hour after the crash after knocking on the door of a trailer about a quarter mile away from the crash and asking to use a resident's phone. Blood tests taken several hours after the crash determined Goodman's blood alcohol content was 0.177, more than twice the legal limit to be considered driving while intoxicated in Florida.
Scott Smith, attorney for Wilson's father, William, said he was pleased that Goodman had dropped any defense claiming Wilson may have contributed to the crash. Smith had tried to get that defense thrown out before and had a hearing scheduled for Thursday where he would ask Circuit Judge Glenn Kelly again to throw it out.
Smith said the evidence shows Wilson was wearing his seat belt, was not speeding, had the right of way and had no alcohol or illegal drugs in his system so there was no evidence he contributed to the crash.
Bachi said he could not comment on exactly why he dropped the defense, but he had previously said in October that it was only a defense he was exploring and if no evidence of Wilson's culpability was ever developed during discovery it would probably be dropped
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