Civil case stayed in drunken-driving crash that killed dispatcher

I know the wrong-way driver who killed a 911 dispatcher on the freeway was found guilty, but whatever happened with the civil case against the driver and the state?

— Bob, Medford


There's been little to report in the civil lawsuit filed by William Greenstein, husband of crash victim Karen Greenstein, who died at the age of 45 after a man with multiple impaired-driving convictions hit her early the morning of March 27, 2014.

Greenstein's $10 million suit filed in 2015 names Richard Webster Scott Jr., convicted last year of felony driving under the influence of intoxicants and first-degree manslaughter and the state of Oregon on grounds that the Department of Motor Vehicles was negligent in issuing Scott a driver's license despite a criminal history of alcohol-related offenses in California that resulted in a prior prison sentence.

Scott been serving a 12-year prison sentence since September 2016, according to previous reports, which also note that Scott had five prior drunken-driving convictions at the time his 1996 Dodge Caravan collided with Greenstein's Honda Civic. His blood-alcohol level was measured about triple the 0.08 legal limit, ranging between 0.212 to 0.248.

The civil lawsuit has been stayed since the end of last year because Scott filed an appeal shortly after the resolution of his criminal case that is still pending. In the civil case, Scott invoked his Fifth Amendment rights and denied any wrongdoing.

The state's response cites Scott's negligence and laws on the books barring punitive damages and limiting non-economic damages.

Grounds for the appeal have not yet been disclosed, but previous reports from the criminal trial show that Scott tried to have his court-appointed defense lawyer removed from the case and that Scott sought a change of venue because of negative pretrial publicity. Both motions were denied before trial.

— Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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