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Monday, October 26, 1992 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Bridge Suit Settled For $100,000

A lawsuit brought on behalf of the estate of a woman who died in a 1989 crash on the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge has been settled out of court for $100,000.

The dispute was to go to trial tomorrow, but a settlement was reached Friday, said James Rogers, the attorney representing the estate of Raili Korkka of Seattle.

Korkka was 44 when her car struck the center lift-span section of the bridge as it unexpectedly shot up Dec. 22, 1989, in effect creating a 5-foot wall. Five others in other vehicles were injured.

The accident took place while a state Department of Transportation crew was testing the bridge-deck lift mechanism.

A complaint against the state was filed in March 1991 by a friend of Korkka, Pekka Liias, who was named in her will as her personal representative, and on behalf of her father, Jalmari Sormuen, 85, of Finland.

The state had asked that the lawsuit be dismissed, since Korkka had no one economically dependent on her in this country and her father was not named as a beneficiary in her will. Rogers argued that her death was caused by state negligence and her father was entitled to damages.

Rogers said the settlement was a result of restrictive laws that limit awards in the death of a single persons with no dependents.

The settlement money is to be distributed as Korkka's will specified, to support research on brown bears, with half going to Washington State University and half going to a Finnish university.

The tragedy led to an extensive improvement program on the bridge.

One bridge lawsuit remains. It is to go to trial May 17.

Copyright (c) 1992 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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