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$1.3 Million Award for Highway Death

CLAYTON, Mo. (CN) - Arbitrators ordered the Missouri Department of Transportation to pay $1.3 million to the family of a St. Louis woman who was killed 4 years ago in a crash on Interstate 44, but the state will pay only $350,000 of it. The rest will come from the trucker and his company.

Jemma Dant, 28, died on Dec. 6, 2005, when a semitrailer slammed into her stopped car, sandwiching it into another truck. Traffic was backed up past the designated exit lane and into the highway's right lane at the time.

A three-person panel of arbitrators ruled the Missouri Department of Transportation should have done more to warn motorists about traffic conditions.

Though the arbitration panel ordered the department to pay $1.3 million to Dant's family, due to Missouri's sovereign immunity limits, the department will pay only part of it.

The trucker and his company paid Dant's family $950,000, which will be subtracted from the $1.3 million, leaving $350,000 due from the Missouri Department of Transportation.

The sovereign immunity cap for 2009 is $378,814.

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