Attorneys for Hyundai Executive Negotiate Settlement Following Fatal Crash

Lee was convicted of vehicular manslaughter last year and given nine years in prison.

Attorneys for a Hyundai executive and the family of a motorcycle rider killed in a drunken driving collision caused by the executive were negotiating a settlement Tuesday.

Trial for Youn Bum Lee, who was being sued on grounds of wrongful death, was to have begun Tuesday.

Lee was convicted of vehicular manslaughter in criminal court last year and given nine years in prison.

The family of Ryan Dallas Cook sued Lee and the Fountain Valley-based U.S. subsidiary of the Korean car company in the fatal, Oct. 19, 2005, accident on the Costa Mesa (55) Freeway.

According to the lawsuit, Lee got drunk at a Hyundai function before the fatal collision, and the company encouraged drinking alcohol at company events.

Attorney Wylie Aitken, representing the Cook family, said negotiations were under way to settle the lawsuit, but he declined to discuss specifics.

Lee was drinking at a company-sponsored dinner in Garden Grove and was driving a company-issued sport utility vehicle without its headlights on in the collision, which occurred just after midnight.


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On the southbound Costa Mesa (55) Freeway, the Hyundai Lee was driving veered into the center divider, then rolled back into the carpool lane south of Dyer Road in Santa Ana.

Cook, 23, who was riding a motorcycle, apparently did not see the Hyundai. He crashed into the SUV, was flung onto the pavement and struck by other vehicles.

Lee fled the scene, but drove the damaged vehicle to work the next morning.

Prosecutors said he tried to get rid of damning evidence, including a shattered rear window and the victim's blood and hair.

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