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Driver rebuts suit in cyclists' deaths

The San Antonio Express: Driver rebuts suit in cyclists’ deaths

By Craig Kapitan - Express-News

Attorneys for the motorist accused of killing a married couple riding a tandem bicycle last month have filed court documents denying allegations in a wrongful-death lawsuit.

Gilbert John Sullaway Jr., 40, is distraught over the Oct. 1 accident that killed Gregory and Alexandra Bruehler, so much so that he has sought counseling, his attorney, Aric Garza, said Friday.

But Garza denied that his client was grossly negligent or that he “completely lost control of the vehicle” in a manner described in the lawsuit.

“This was the result of a tragic accident, but ‘accident’ is the operative word here,” Garza said.

Thomas Harmon, who represents the family of Gregory and Alexandra Bruehler, remained skeptical.

“I have not heard an excuse yet from the defendant as to why the vehicle went off the road,” Harmon said. “We just know the vehicle left the roadway, and it should not have.”

The Bruehlers were pedaling along a wide shoulder of Texas 16 when Sullaway’s Ford F-150 King Ranch struck them after veering off the road just north of Helotes, according to a Bexar County Sheriff’s Office accident report.

Although the wreck outraged the local bicycling community, no citations or criminal charges have been filed against Sullaway. A criminal investigation by the Sheriff’s Office is ongoing, attorneys acknowledged, but so far nothing has been forwarded to the district attorney’s office.

Garza cited the ongoing investigation Friday in declining to discuss the specifics of what happened during the wreck. He did say, however, that his client was not distracted.

The fathers of the couple said they filed the wrongful death suit earlier this month on behalf of the Bruehlers’ 7-year-old daughter, Kylie. The suit also names Sullaway’s business, Advanced Detection Security Services Inc., as a defendant.

Sullaway’s attorneys said they “remain committed” to helping the child.

But Sullaway has been unfairly maligned by critics, Garza added, explaining that his client’s heart has been broken by what happened. He described Sullaway as a devout Catholic who volunteers as a regional director of a religious retreat for men.

“Our thoughts and prayers of course go out to the Bruehler family, but it shouldn’t be forgotten that Mr. Sullaway is a good person as well,” Garza said. “He, too, will have to struggle with this situation every remaining day of his life.”

Through his attorney, Sullaway declined to comment directly.