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Grand Island man gets $2 million in settlement

Updated: 06/20/07 7:11 AM

 Jose Antonio Palma Jr., who suffered severe facial injuries when a drunken friend crashed a leased car into the Niagara River, has accepted a $2 million insurance settlement, his attorneys said Tuesday.

The settlement came on the eve of jury selection at a personal injury negligence trial before State Supreme Court Justice John A. Michalek, according to attorneys Chris O’Brien and Stephen Boyd. Carriers for both Kevin White and GMAC, which owned the car White had leased, will be contributing to the cash settlement, the attorneys said.

Palma, 25, of Grand Island was a passenger in the car driven by White at speeds of up to 100 mph east on Ransom Road on Grand Island when White sped past a stop sign and crashed through a guard rail, O’Brien said. The car went down an embankment and landed more than 40 feet into the east branch of the Niagara River at about 1 a.m. Nov. 26, 2004.

O’Brien said White wasn’t injured but Palma suffered multiple facial bone fractures and surgeons had to insert plates into his face. Nevertheless, he successfully petitioned Grand Island judges to spare White a jail sentence on his DWI plea in the case, O’Brien said.