A Santa Rosa woman who reached a nearly $1 million settlement with victims of last year’s fatal pedestrian crash in the Oakmont retirement community is accused of attempting to avoid payment by transferring real estate holdings to a son and other people.
Gayle Diane Gray, 78, is serving a more than seven-year prison sentence for the January 2016 crash that killed Jackie Simon, 85, and injured Josephine Ross, 91. The two women were walking outside a store when they were hit by Gray, who was under the influence of alcohol and prescription medication.
Gray, who had two prior drunken-driving convictions, was sentenced in June. This month, she settled separate wrongful death and injury claims with Simon’s family and Ross, agreeing to pay $500,000 and $450,000, respectively, said Patrick Emery, an attorney for Simon’s family.
But Emery alleges in legal papers filed last week Gray and a son, Scott Gray, took steps to move four properties from Gayle Gray’s trust in an attempt to “hinder, delay and defraud” the collection of the settlement.
Scott Gray took control of the trust weeks after the crash, selling three properties to private parties and giving one — a five-bedroom house on Badger Road valued at $1.2 million — to himself, Emery said.
“You can transfer property even if there is a claim pending against you,” Emery said Monday. “But if you transfer it improperly or without arms-length consideration, you’ve defrauded your creditors.”
The filing also seeks to void the transfer of the Badger Road house.
Gray’s lawyer, Ray Fullerton, did not immediately return a call Monday seeking comment. Scott Gray did not respond to email or phone calls.
The crash occurred the afternoon of Jan. 20, 2016 outside Oakmont Village Market. Simon and Ross were on the sidewalk after leaving a dry cleaner as Gray, a retired real estate broker, was driving out of the parking lot.
Gray told police she saw the two women and tried to step on her brakes but hit the accelerator instead. The pair were thrown onto the hood of her 1994 Lexus and carried up to 20 feet before falling onto the asphalt.
Gray continued driving across four lanes of traffic and a median. She struck a dirt berm and came to a stop. Simon later died and Ross was seriously injured.
Testing found Gray had a blood-alcohol level of .05 percent, under the legal limit to drive, but also had prescription medications in her system such as antidepressants.
She also told police she was distracted by her Jack Russell terrier sitting on her lap. She has a drunken-driving convictions from 1994 and 2003, prosecutors said.
At the time of the crash, Gray had control of a trust in her name created in 1986. It contained two properties on Piner Road, one on Cherry street in downtown Santa Rosa and the Badger Road house.
Three of them were sold for a combined $1.3 million in the months after Simon’s heirs filed a wrongful death lawsuit in June.
You can reach Staff Writer Paul Payne at 707-568-5312 or firstname.lastname@example.org.