Potential multi-million-dollar lawsuit involving injured Wichita officer settled

·3 min read

The wife of a retired Wichita officer who suffered brain damage after being run over by a man driving a stolen SUV has reached a settlement with a Wichita car dealership, law firm Hutton & Hutton said Tuesday.

Claudale Arterburn had originally sought more than $75 million in punitive damages from Eddy’s Chevrolet Cadillac and the man who ran over her husband, Brian Arterburn, in 2017 while he was laying a tire deflation device in the road at Kinkaid and Topeka in an attempt to slow or stop the SUV.

Hutton & Hutton would not comment outside of a two-paragraph news release, which said the “terms of the resolution are confidential.”

The settlement was with the dealership and its owners: Eddy’s Chevrolet Cadillac LLC, Moxie Motors LLC, Steven Enterprises LLC, and Brandon Steven Motors LLC.

A lawyer for the dealership did not immediately return a call from The Eagle.

The suit against the dealership and Justin F. “Money” Terrazas was originally filed in Sedgwick County District Court. In the suit, Claudale Arterburn sought:

At least $2.4 million to reimburse the city of Wichita for medical, hospital and pharmacy expenses it has already paid for Brian Arterburn’s treatment Nearly $21.3 million in estimated future medical expenses including costs for specialized care and home health assistance $1.8 million for Arterburn’s lost income and job-related benefits $104,658 for income lost by Arterburn’s wife $279,217 for lost household services Just over $49 million for pain and suffering, loss of marital and familial benefits and other non-economic damages

The suit alleged Eddy’s Chevrolet Cadillac gave Terrazas access to the $66,000 black 2016 Chevy Tahoe that he was driving when he ran over Arterburn during a home-stakeout-turned-car-chase in south Wichita on Feb. 7, 2017.

The dealership has said previously that the vehicle was stolen and that it has “no clear understanding” of how Terrazas came to have it in his possession. Terrazas has refused to answer questions posed by The Eagle about where he got the Tahoe.

The lawsuit claimed the dealership “acted recklessly” when it either entrusted Terrazas with the Tahoe, or alternatively when it failed to either secure the Tahoe or report it, its spare keys and a dealer’s tag as stolen for the more than seven weeks the SUV was missing from its lot.

The suit alleged the dealership was warned the SUV was likely being used during that time for criminal activity — including by a gaming agent who contacted the dealership after spotting the vehicle dropping off suspected prostitutes at the Kansas Star Casino — but took no steps to locate it or call police until officers inquired about its status just hours before Arterburn was injured.

Terrazas, a known drug dealer with a history of criminal convictions, also acted recklessly when he fled from police who tried to stop the SUV after it was seen at a house police had under surveillance, the lawsuit alleged.

Terrazas, who was criminally charged, pleaded guilty to reckless aggravated battery, fleeing from law enforcement and possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute and is serving a lengthy prison sentence. His earliest possible release date is 29 years away, Kansas Department of Corrections records show.

After multiple surgeries and extensive rehabilitation, Arterburn took medical retirement from his police job in 2018. He was a 25-year veteran of the force. His wife is also a Wichita police officer.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting