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Officials: Crash victim not at fault

But the attorney suing the woman's estate has said it's possible she was partly to blame for the wreck that killed six.

An attorney handling a lawsuit against the estate of a 66-year-old woman killed in a 1998 car crash agreed Tuesday that the case should be heard in the dead woman's home county and offered to move it from Dade City.

Meanwhile, a Georgia Department of Public Safety report on the crash _ which killed six people _ indicates she shouldn't be sued anywhere.

Zephyrhills attorney Alexander Hernandez filed a motion Tuesday to move the case to Baker County in north Florida in response to a defense motion to dismiss the case.

Hernandez sued the estate of Iris Dinkins Williams in a Dade City court in December, claiming Williams was at least partly responsible for the June 8, 1998, crash.

Williams and her cousin, Doris Wilkerson, both 66, were killed. The crash, which happened just north of the Florida-Georgia line, also killed the driver of the second car, Maria Solis, 26, her sister Ramona, 40, and two others in her car, Ambrosio Tarango, 51, and Leonardo Tarango, 6.

Hernandez is suing on behalf of Ramona Solis' husband, Manuel Tarango, and the couple's 10 children, including two who survived the crash but were severely injured.

Despite the lawsuit's claim that Williams "negligently maintained and operated" her vehicle, the final report issued by the Georgia Department of Public Safety last year pins the entire cause of the crash on Maria Solis.

In a report released to the Times this week, Georgia investigator E.C. Brock found: "The vehicle driven by Iris Dinkins Williams in no way contributed to the collision."

The report also states, "The sole reason this collision occurred was that Maria Elana Solis lost control of the vehicle she was driving and struck the vehicle driven by Iris Dinkins Williams head-on, causing the death of herself and five (5) other individuals."

The report finds that Solis ran her 1987 Ford Taurus off the two-lane road, then overcorrected and swerved into the path of Williams' 1994 Buick.

In her final moments, Williams hit the brakes and tried to steer away from the oncoming Taurus, the report concludes.

Hernandez was not available for comment Wednesday, but shortly after filing the suit he said it would focus on assigning blame, seeking compensation from Williams' insurance company, not her family.

Williams' family was stunned in December by news of the suit. Her youngest daughter said, "I just don't understand how anyone could do this to my mother."

Hernandez said he chose not to sue the estate of Maria Solis because she was uninsured, although a Georgia report indicates she was insured and lists a policy number.

Since the crash occurred on a curve and there are no independent witnesses, Hernandez said it's possible Williams was at least partly to blame.

In a state that will apportion damages on a percentage of liability, any fault could lead to a large award, especially for the children who survived with permanent injuries, he said.

"Their injuries and their damages are so extensive that even if we were looking at 2 and 3 percent (of the blame), the injuries are such that any damages would still be substantial," he said. "This is really a claim against (Williams') auto insurance carrier. We will go to trial if necessary."

Tampa attorney Howard Weber, representing Williams' insurance company, GEICO, said he would be eager to move the case out of Dade City, where Tarango and his family live, to avoid the risk of seating jurors who know the family.