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Driver faces wrongful-death suit in Brooksville woman's death

BROOKSVILLE — The adult children of a Brooksville woman killed in a December motorcycle wreck have filed a wrongful-death claim.

The lawsuit, filed Friday on behalf of Jeremy and Ryan Bailey, seeks damages in excess of $15,000 against James Brennan, 61, of Murraysville, Pa., for his role in the Dec. 9 crash that killed Randi Lavikoff, 56, and injured her riding partner, Linden Gates, 64.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Lavikoff and Gates were riding their motorcycles north on U.S. 19 when Brennan hit them from behind with his 1996 GMC truck shortly before 7 p.m.

Lavikoff, who was wearing a helmet, was thrown from her motorcycle and died at the scene. Gates was also thrown, but suffered only minor injuries.

Investigators charged Brennan with careless driving. He is scheduled to appear in court April 14.

Lavikoff was a skilled horse rider who participated in endurance competitions, said friend Jean Wonser. In her first long-distance ride, she completed 1,989 miles. "She was known by her cheery smile and welcome greeting to even those she slightly knew," Wonser told a Florida horse riding publication.

Her brother, Neil Lavikoff of Boca Raton, told the Times he was disappointed that Brennan received only a traffic citation.

He described his sister as a "very cautious person." When he visited last summer, he remembered how she "was so proud, showing us the motorcycle helmet she had purchased and how protective it was."

"Unfortunately, in a situation such as the accident she was involved in, it did her no good," he added.

John Frank can be reached at jfrank@sptimes.com or (352) 754-6114.

Driver faces wrongful-death suit in Brooksville woman's death 04/07/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 9, 2008 10:29am]
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