Tahoe man hurt by snowplow driver high on meth says state responsible

During a March 2018 snowstorm on a mountainside above Lake Tahoe, Alan McMahon entered into an undesirable, sudden and very one-sided transaction with the state of Nevada.

As the 61-yr-previous carpenter drove his purple ’seventy eight Chevrolet pickup up the Mt. Rose Highway in the direction of a job website above Incline Village, a person, high on methamphetamine, approached Alan from behind the wheel of a Nevada Division of Transportation snowplow.

The booking photograph of Eric Justin Christiansen, forty four. The former Nevada Department of Transportation worker was discovered guilty of felony DUI in March after he drove a state-owned snowplow over the centerline of the Mt. Rose Highway while excessive on meth, hitting Alan McMahon almost head-on.
(Photograph: Washoe County Jail)

The plow’s driver, forty four-yr-previous Eric Christiansen — a state employee — had also failed to put in tire chains on the brilliant yellow 1998 International snow plow. That made the task of controlling the plow on the snow-coated roads troublesome even for a sober individual — which Christiansen was not.

At about 6:30 a.m. close to the place County Club Drive intersects the freeway, Christiansen drove his 15.5-ton NDOT plow over the centerline and hit Alan nearly head-on.

The plow’s 14-foot steel blade buckled and compressed the front of the red Chevy. Alan is not entirely sure what happened in the next few seconds, but he believes the force of the impact shot the truck’s leaf springs through the floorboards and into his left foot, nearly tearing it off at the ankle.

In that moment, as the leaf springs made a bid for his foot, his involuntary transaction with the Silver State began.

Through the proxy of its high plow driver, Nevada laid claim to Alan’s left leg below the knee, his livelihood, his beloved red Chevy and life as he knew it for the previous 61 years.

The asking price for Alan’s limb and livelihood is still to be determined, though Washoe County District Court has already convicted Christiansen of felony DUI.

He faces up to 20 years in prison and will be sentenced in June.

‘One of the big ones’: In the Lake Tahoe Basin, this winter ranks as 4th-largest

Alan will likely get no more than $100,000 per a Nevada law that limits how much the state can give citizens injured in state-liable incidents

If the crash would have happened just five miles down the road in California — where Alan lives and there is no cap — his injury would have likely fetched him seven-figures or more in damages, according to an attorney who helped the carpenter after he was maimed.

Since the crash happened in Nevada, which has one of the lowest caps on injury or death claims in the nation, Alan’s future is far bleaker.

“They cannot get away with this,” the now 62-year-old said, sitting in the living room of his modest Kings Beach home near the northern shore of Lake Tahoe. “I’m going to make it public for the rest of my life … I’m ruined and the state of Nevada is responsible.”

“I don’t care what the law says; they need to…

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