Civil suit settled in death of 911 dispatcher hit by drunk driver

MEDFORD, Ore. — “She was a great wife, great mother, great at her job, well-loved and well-respected in the first responder community,” said Bill Greenstein, husband of Karen Greenstein.

A civil trial scheduled for Tuesday has been canceled.

That’s after the two parties settled the suit with the state of Oregon paying $500,000 to the family of Karen Greenstein, an Ashland woman killed by a drunk driver back in 2014.

The 58-year-old worked to protect her community as a 911 emergency dispatcher for 20 years. Unfortunately, no one could protect her in the early hours of Thursday, March 27th, 2014 when she was hit by a driver going the wrong way on I-5 near Phoenix.

During the 2016 criminal trial, the state described it as the worst manslaughter case it’s ever seen.

The judge imposed the maximum sentence allowed by law on the driver, Richard Scott, who is now spending more than a decade behind bars.

“He wasn’t entitled to that license,” said Bill Greenstein.

In a civil lawsuit against the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles, the family argued the state shouldn’t have granted Scott a driver’s license in Oregon.

Scott had five prior DUI’s in California, and his blood-alcohol level the night of the crash was 3 times the legal limit.

“It’s pretty scary to know that the DMV doesn’t even follow their own rules,” said Greenstein.

Court documents say Scott’s license had been suspended and revoked in California for his DUI’s.

The family argued Oregon never should have let him get a driver’s license due to his record.

“Oregon State Police on the scene of the accident when it happened, they knew within literally 10 or 15 minutes that he had been suspended 5 times and 5 DUI’s. For the state to claim that they can’t get that information was absurd,” he said.

With the case now settled, Greenstein’s family say it’s time to move forward. They will continue to honor Karen’s memory and how she touched the lives of so many.

“You know it doesn’t replace her. It doesn’t replace her, but a lot of people still care a lot about her and we try to remember her that way,” he said.

The DMV of Oregon has declined to comment on the case, but say they are working on a system that will make it easier to share driver records from state-to-state.

It should be released next year.

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