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Family Of Ridgefield Mom Killed By Pickup Settles Lawsuit Against Driver For $1.25 Million

Maria Gabriela Andino
Maria Gabriela Andino Photo Credit: Andino Family

The family of a Ridgefield mom who was struck and killed by a pickup truck has settled a wrongful death suit against the driver for $1,250,000, their attorney said Monday.

The driver of a 2016 Dodge Ram was turning left from northbound Shaler Boulevard onto westbound Banta Place last Feb. 15 when the pickup struck Maria Gabriela Andino as she crossed a street near the supermarket where she worked .

The mother of two remained at Hackensack University Medical Center before loved ones made the agonizing decision to remove her from a respirator on Feb. 17, a day before her 40th birthday.

A wrongful death lawsuit filed in Superior Court in Hackensack on their behalf charged the driver, Ryan E. Handschin, with operating the pickup in an “inattentive, careless, reckless and negligent manner, inflicting upon [Andino] severe and painful bodily injuries and trauma [and] ultimately causing her demise.”

Andino, who was known locally as Erica, arrived from Ecuador with her husband a few years ago.

Her death caused him and two their two young daughters “damage, injury and economic loss,” not limited to “mental anguish and emotional distress,” the lawsuit alleged.

“Nothing can bring Maria back to her husband and their two little girls,” said family attorney Ronald Dario. “This family suffered an irreparable loss.

“But when her 9-year-old was in our office and asked, ‘Can you help my Mommy?’ we assured her that we would do our best to get her justice.”

There was more than one tragedy in the borough that day.

Handschin, who told police he didn't see Andino when he turned, had survived testicular cancer after doctors removed a tumor during a 15-hour procedure in 2014. Friends, loved ones and others rallied to support him following the crash.

Also named in the suit was Handschin's father, Michael, who owned the truck.

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