Two former University of Rhode Island students have settled a lawsuit that accused them of causing the death of another college student who was crushed by a bus during a night of drinking in Newport five years ago, a lawyer said Tuesday.
Jarrad Rocheleau and Loren Welsh, both 26, reached the agreement with the parents of Francis J. Marx V, who accused them of scuffling with their son early on May 20, 2004, causing the Fairfield University senior to fall into the path of a bus being used for a pub crawl.
The wrongful death lawsuit was resolved before closing arguments Tuesday in a case that began two weeks ago in Providence Superior Court, said Lauren Wilkins, a lawyer for Rocheleau.
Rocheleau and Welsh did not admit any wrongdoing as part of the settlement.
“There was absolutely no admission of liability,” Wilkins said. “None.”
Terms were not disclosed, but Wilkins said the settlement was for “susbtantially less” than the $5 million sought by Marx’s parents. Lawyers for Welsh and the Marx family did not immediately return phone calls.
Marx, of Richboro, Pa., was out with friends after attending a formal dance at one of Newport’s mansions with his girlfriend. He was part of a heated argument with a group of URI students celebrating their impending graduation with a pub crawl.
Marx’s parents said he was pushed to the ground and fell beneath the wheel of a bus carrying students on their bar tour. Lawyers for Rocheleau and Welsh said they never pushed Marx and suggested he had been drinking heavily that night and fell backward on his own.
“A whole host of decisions were made that night, and none of them were great decisions, I’m sure,” Wilkins said.
State prosecutors convened a grand jury to investigate, but no criminal charges were brought.
The city of Newport was dismissed from the lawsuit before the start of trial.
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