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$8.5 Million Settlement in Helicopter Crash, Alabama Declares Doctors' Day

OH-58D helicopter
OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter similar to one that crashed at Fort Rucker Dec. 14, 2010.

The family of a soldier killed in a 2010 Fort Rucker helicopter accident has reached a multi-million dollar settlement with two companies.

The Dothan Eagle reports Rolls-Royce Corporation, the company responsible for inspecting the helicopter, will pay $8 million to the family of 38-year-old Jeremy Clark. Clark was an instructor pilot who died in the Dec. 14, 2010 crash. A student pilot was also injured. Helicopter maintenance company L-3 Communications also agreed to pay $500,000.

U.S. District Court documents show the settlement terms were agreed upon last year and were finally approved last week.

The pilot's wife Jennifer Clark says the helicopter malfunctioned five days before the wreck and was never properly repaired.

As part of the settlement agreement, both defendants deny any liability of responsibility for the accident.

Alabama is following in the nation’s footsteps and declaring today Doctors' Day. The goal is to focus on recognizing Alabama’s more than 11,000 physicians.

Lori Quiller is the communications director for the Medical Association of the State of Alabama. She says that Alabama's doctors not only medically support their communities, but also support the state’s economy.

“Naturally they’re healers first, but physicians are also given the opportunity to support their communities and the state economically as well. They contribute on an average of about 10 jobs and that averages out to about 83,000 jobs statewide.”

The proclamation will be signed today by Governor Bentley. Prior to becoming governor, Bentley practiced dermatology in Tuscaloosa.

The Healthy Minds Network hopes to educate Alabama lawmakers and citizens at its conference today.

The event is titled Hidden in Plain View: The Human and Economic Costs of Mental Illness. Former congressman Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island will give the keynote address.

The Healthy Minds Network hopes to educate Alabamians on issues facing people with mental illness in Alabama and the potential for policy changes to alleviate those issues.

Linnea Conely is a consultant with Summa Source at Auburn University at Montgomery. She says that the conference is focused on action as much as education.

“Our speakers will be giving practical advice on what legislators, business leaders, social service sectors, and just everyday citizens can do here in this state to start addressing some of the issues surrounding mental illness.”

The conference will take place at the Renaissance Hotel in Montgomery. Everyone is welcome, but those attending need to register online.

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