Call the New Year's Eve Taxi
The Great Bend Police Department has two designated drivers ready for people who need a ride Wednesday night. Call the GBPD’s New Year’s Eve Taxi, 620-639-TAXI (639-8294). Sgt. Gary Davis and DARE Officer Jefferson Davis will drive people anywhere in Barton County for a $5 donation per person to the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program. They will take calls starting at 8:30 p.m. and continuing until 3 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 1.
Two Great Bend men’s lives were forever changed by a drunk driver nearly two years ago. Today, accident victims Michael Tysver and Cody Clark, along with their families, continue to deal with the aftermath.
Clark and Tysver, both 21 at the time, were in Arizona to attend the Kansas State University/Oregon State football game at the 2013 Fiesta Bowl. They were struck by a car while riding in a cycle-based cab — a pedicab — near downtown Scottsdale around 3 a.m. on Jan. 4, 2013.
Both suffered severe injuries but survived.
With the two-year anniversary of the accident approaching, as well as New Year’s Eve, family members want to remind people not to drink and drive.
“We’re reminded of it every day,” said Donna Clark, Cody’s grandmother. Cody is home in Great Bend and undergoes some form of physical therapy almost daily, she said. “He’s got a long way to go.”
The drunk driver, Joseph Paul Spano, 28, was convicted Jan. 10 in a plea deal for two counts of aggravated assault and one of endangerment. He is serving a four-year sentence, to be followed by two years of probation.
Scottsdale police reported Spano was driving a 2012 Ford sedan north on Scottsdale Road in the median lane when he rear-ended the pedicab. The cab was in the median lane to make a left turn and the driver did not see the approaching car, and had no time to react.
The driver of the cab was not seriously hurt. He said he picked up Clark and Tysver at a downtown Scottsdale bar and was taking them to their nearby hotel. The accident forced the closure of a stretch of the street for several hours.
Clark suffered a severe head trauma, while Tysver sustained a spine injury.
According to the Phoenix News, the City of Scottsdale recently settled a lawsuit with Tysver, and is scheduled to settle with Clark on Jan. 6, 2015, two years and two days after the accident.
The plaintiffs originally filed notices of claim seeking $40 million for Cody Clark, $3 million for Clark’s mother, $3 million for Clark’s father and $5 million for Tysver.
With the settlement date fast approaching, Cody’s father declined an interview at this time.
The city’s $100,000 settlement with Tysver led to the dismissal of his claims against the city.
According to the Phoenix News, Matthew Cunningham, the attorney representing Clark and his parents, said Scottsdale did not extend an offer settlement to the Clarks.
He added, “Mike Tysver had a remarkable recovery, and we are happy that he is able to move on with his life.”
Meanwhile, Cunningham said Clark’s brain injury is severe, “and he will require assisted care for the rest of his life,” he said. “He will never be the person God intended him to be.”
The accident was catalyst for a series of new local ordinances in Scottsdale and other cities regulating pedicabs including lighting, safety features and insurance requirements. A controversial proposal to required pedicab drivers to have valid Arizona drivers’ licenses was included in the ordinance.