Scottsdale Sued Over Pedicab Crash

As Edward Gately reported this week, the drunk driver who permanently disabled Kansas college student and Scottsdale visitor Cody Clark [blog:] was sentenced to four years in prison and two years of probation. Clark was in town for the Fiesta Bowl a year ago.

Many concerned residents warned Mayor Jim Lane and the bar caucus on the city council (including Linda Milhaven, Dennis Robbins, Suzanne Klapp) of just this kind of incident. But the massive campaign contributions of the bars (including Les Corieri) insured that virtually all applications are approved without regard to sound city planning principles which recommend limiting concentrations of such land uses.

Word comes to ScottsdaleTrails via a reader this morning that Cody’s family has filed a civil complaint against drunk driver Joseph Spano, an entity I believe to be the former Axis/Radius club (perhaps where Spano intoxicated himself), and the City of Scottsdale.

Case Number: CV2013-001476 Judge: Warner, Randall
File Date: 2/12/2013 Location: Downtown
Case Type: Civil

Party Name, Attorney

Cody Allan Clark, Plaintiff, Matthew Cunningham
Todd A Clark, Plaintiff, Matthew Cunningham
Sandra R Clanton, Plaintiff, Matthew Cunningham
Michael D Tysver Plaintiff, Myles Hassett

Joseph Paul Spano, Defendant, Joel Deciancio
R E D W, L L C, Defendant, John Dicaro
Axis Cigar Bar L L C, Defendant Pro Per [Les Corieri is listed as “manager”]
City Of Scottsdale Defendant, KATHLEEN WIENEKE

Joseph Spano

Man in Scottsdale pedicab crash sentenced to 4 years in prison

By Edward Gately The Republic | Wed Jan 15, 2014 6:18 PM

A Phoenix resident who collided with a pedicab early last year in downtown Scottsdale, seriously injuring two tourists from Kansas, has been sentenced to four years in prison and two years of probation.

The mother of a tourist who was left with a severe brain injury said the sentence, which was less than the maximum recommended by county prosecutors, is too light.

Joseph Paul Spano, 28, was sentenced by Maricopa Superior Court Judge Harriett Chavez on Jan. 10, after a plea agreement was reached in November. Spano pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated assault and one count of endangerment in connection with the Jan. 4, 2013 crash.

Deputy County Attorney Tiffany Brady asked Chavez to impose the maximum sentence under the plea agreement, which was six years in prison and three years probation, said spokesman Jerry Cobb.

“Based on the agreement that the defendant entered, there was a stipulated prison term of no less than two years and no more than six years,” he said. “Generally if we ask for the maximum, it’s because we feel it was appropriate for the harm that was caused. The judge, who has final say, chose to impose a four-year sentence and two-year probation term.”

Numerous other counts were dismissed as part of the agreement.

Spano was driving the sedan that collided with the pedicab. He was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, endangerment and aggravated assault, Scottsdale police spokesman Sgt. Mark Clark said.

Cody Clark, of Great Bend, Kan., suffered a severe head injury in the crash. Michael Tysver, also of Great Bend, suffered a spine injury, but was released from the hospital a few weeks after the incident. Both are 22.

Sandy Clanton, Clark’s mother, said this week her son was transferred about six months ago from Phoenix to a rehabilitation hospital in the Kansas City area that specializes in traumatic brain injuries.

The left side of Clark’s brain, which controls communication and understanding, was severely damaged when his head hit the steel frame of the car’s windshield, she said.

“He has made some improvement,” Clanton said. “He is more alert than before, doing hand gestures, and nodding yes and no, but not a consistent response. We just keep working with him and he keeps making improvements. He’s here for a reason.”

Clark is likely to remain in the rehabilitation hospital at least several more months, she said. Tysver is walking and talking normally, and has come to visit her son.

Clanton attended the sentencing with her daughter and testified about how the crash has affected her son.

“We were trying to get the judge to do the max because my son has a lifetime sentence, he’s going to deal with this the rest of his life,” she said. “It’s changed my whole life. Our whole world that we’ve known is gone. It’s horrendous.”

Clark and Tysver were in town for last year’s Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.

After the incident, the pedicab driver told police that he didn’t see the car approaching from behind and had no time to avoid the collision, Clark said.

Police determined there were no mechanical or safety violations involved with the pedicab, Clark said. The crash occurred on Scottsdale Road near Rose Lane.

The incident led to the city drafting, and the City Council approving an ordinance last summer governing pedicabs. To do business in Scottsdale, pedicab operators now must have a valid Arizona driver’s license, maintain insurance and adhere to regulations pertaining to the safety and visibility of the pedicab.

The ordinance also includes penalties for non-compliance but does not specify any inspections.

The accident occurred as the Valley’s tourist season was kicking into high gear, and visitors were flocking to areas with a high concentration of attractions. The number of pedicabs operating in downtown Scottsdale significantly decreased after the ordinance took effect.

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  1. Let’s see, the City Council has approved more bars per square mile than any place in the State, thus the likelihood of having more intoxicate people per square mile during these events. And the safety solution, is stricter licensing regulations on the pedicabs that get run over? I’m feel safer now , knowing that a drunk car driver won’t run over my pedicab because the operator has a valid AZ drivers license.

  2. The traveling tavern with about 12 people riding and drinking will be the next “accident about to happen” in Scottsdale. Who approved this absurd dangerous idea? The Roc Bar vote just encourages more bad behavior. This bar is all open to the street in a retail area. The tobacco shop allows cigar smokers to pollute the air on 5th Ave. with red solo cups as part of the scene. Drinking and smoking should remain indoors for those who need to participate. These public displays will only cause more harm to the innocent.

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