Settlement reached in Bangor Fourth of July Parade case

Attorney Daniel Kagan of the Berman & Simmons law firm has successfully negotiated a settlement in a case involving the death of an antique tractor driver at the city of Bangor’s Independence Day parade in 2013.

Kagan filed the wrongful death lawsuit last year on behalf of Lorena Fenlason of Holden, whose husband, 63-year-old Wallace Fenlason, was hit from behind while driving his tractor in the parade. Fenlason was thrown from the vehicle, then run over and killed. Kagan said the city of Bangor and the Kiwanis Club of Bangor failed in their responsibilities to keep parade participants and spectators safe.

The settlement in this case was a major news story in Maine over the past week. Click on the links to view the coverage.

Kagan tells WABI: “The Fenlasons feel Wally’s loss every day, but they are gratified that their lawsuit brought to light the mistakes that caused his death so that parades can continue, more safely but just as much fun, in the future.”

Fenlason was driving his antique John Deere tractor in the parade, as he had done for many years. Behind Fenlason was the City of Bangor’s 1930 McCann firetruck driven by a Bangor firefighter. The parade had been rerouted at the last minute because Bangor police were dealing with an armed standoff. The new route diverted the parade vehicles down a steep section of Water Street.

On this hill, when Fenlason slowed his tractor to keep a safe distance from the vehicles ahead of him, the antique firetruck’s brakes failed. The firetruck ran into Fenlason’s tractor, knocked him to the ground, and rolled over him. The Maine State Police investigation revealed the antique firetruck had insufficient brake fluid, and the fluid it did have was contaminated with water.