Former NAMB missionary receives $26 million settlement after crash

Jeremy Vangsnes

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BNG) — A North American Mission Board (NAMB) student missionary paralyzed in a 2009 rollover crash has been awarded $26 million in a settlement with the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) entity’s insurers.

Personal injury lawyer Alexander Blewett III in Great Falls, Montana, said the $26 million settlement, the largest in state history, is not considered an admission of guilt by NAMB.

On June 19, however, District Judge Mike Salvagni of Gallatin County ruled the agency was liable for 27-year-old Jeremy Vangsnes’ injuries.

Lawyers representing Vangsnes — an All-American collegiate distance runner before suffering brain injuries that rendered him a quadriplegic during a 10-week recreational missions assignment at Yellowstone National Park — said insurance companies agreed to pay their full insurance policy limits after Salvagni ruled that the car’s driver was acting within the course and scope of his NAMB assignment when the wreck occurred.

Vangsnes, then 21, a rising senior at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, South Carolina, was traveling with his brothers Ryan, 19, and Daniel, 23, in a Jeep Cherokee driven by Scott Minear, 20-year-old junior at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia, in a return trip from Glacier National Park on July 21, 2009.

All four were injured, and Jeremy Vangses most critically

Blewett said the award will allow Vangsnes’ father, who serves as Jeremy’s full-time caregiver, to hire 24-hour skilled nursing care and buy a house that is more handicapped accessible.

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State Baptist newspaper serving Baptists in Alabama, providing information, inspiration and interpretation as well as challenging readers to serve and find opportunities for ministry that further the kingdom of God.
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