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Wednesday, December 12, 2007 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Family sues driver, firm in cyclist death

Seattle Times staff reporter

The family of a bicyclist who was struck and killed by a dump truck on Seattle's Eastlake Avenue East in September has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the truck driver and the Woodinville-based construction company that employed him.

Bryce Lewis, 19, was riding with a friend north on Eastlake toward University Bridge on Sept. 7 when a truck owned by Nelson and Sons Construction made a right turn onto Fuhrman Avenue East and struck the two men while they were in the bicycle lane.

Lewis and his friend, Caleb Hall, 20, were pinned under the truck and dragged 25 feet before bystanders were able to free Hall, according to the lawsuit filed Monday in King County Superior Court. Lewis died almost instantly, the complaint states. Hall was injured.

The lawsuit did not specify damages.

"He failed to yield to them when they had the right of way," said the plaintiffs' attorney, John Christensen.

Nelson and Sons declined to comment Tuesday on the case, and the driver, David McClane, could not be reached.

Christensen said he was told the Seattle Police Department has completed its investigation and is referring the case to the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.

"We'll review it when it comes in and decide whether or not any criminal charges will be filed," said prosecutor's spokesman Dan Donohoe.

Lewis, an artist, and Hall, who is also a plaintiff in the civil suit, had moved to Seattle from Denver just weeks before the accident, hoping to make a fresh start and enroll in college, according to Christensen.

Lewis' family has been devastated by the accident and is struggling to prepare for its first Christmas without him. He left behind four younger siblings, Christensen said.

The afternoon they were hit, Lewis and Hall were riding north on Eastlake as they approached a construction site. They were not wearing helmets. A flagger directed them around the construction area, which was blocking a portion of the bicycle lane, according to the complaint.

After going around the area and re-entering the bicycle lane, they slammed into the truck as it turned right into their lane on a green light, according to the police report.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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