$3 million lawsuit names teen motorist in fatal crash
Attorneys for the mother of Arthur Studer, the 34-year-old St. Helens man suspected of being killed in September by a teen motorist, have filed a $3 million wrongful death lawsuit against the motorist, his mother and stepfather, Tobacco World and its owners in Columbia County Circuit Court.
Kody Allen, now 19, is believed to have purchased nitrous oxide containers at Tobacco World in St. Helens and inhaled the intoxicant gas prior to losing control of his Ford Ranger traveling eastbound on Gable Road and striking Studer in September.
Theresa Studer is plaintiff in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit, filed by Dawson Law Group of West Linn, alleges Allen on Sept. 5 purchased two boxes of nitrous oxide "whip-it" canisters and used the canisters to consume nitrous oxide in the Tobacco World parking lot in St. Helens.
"Defendant Allen was a frequent customer of Tobacco World and employees of Tobacco World were aware of his intended use of nitrous oxide and the likelihood of him driving after consuming intoxicating chemicals," the lawsuit asserts. "After consuming nitrous oxide at Tobacco World, Defendant Allen drove approximately 1 mile to Old Gable Road in St. Helens where he swerved off the road and struck Arthur Studer, while he was walking on the side of the road."
The lawsuit states that Tobacco World and its owner, defendant Vishal Nisher, knew it was selling and profiting from nitrous oxide sales for illegitimate uses.
Allen, who was a senior at St. Helens High School at the time of the crash, admitted to inhaling nitrous oxide prior to the fatal crash in interviews following his initial arraignment on charges of first-degree manslaughter and tampering with evidence. He has since been indicted by a Columbia County grand jury on those charges. Allen has also since been charged with DUII.
Witnesses at the scene alerted police to the presence of Studer's body, which was discovered behind a fence.
Allen's mother and stepfather, Mary and Michael Carlson, are named in the lawsuit as being "vicariously liable for the negligence" of Allen.
The lawsuit seeks $1.5 million for non-economic damages and $1.52 million for economic damages.