Syracuse (WSYR-TV) – It’s been almost 10 years since the crash that took the life of Jason Rhoades.
And now a state judge is ordering New York to pay nearly $15 million to the man’s family.
The former East Syracuse mayor died when his SUV flew off the Interstate 81 North bridge over Park Street on a snowy night in January of 2004.
On appeal, the court has now ruled the state liable for the way it plowed the bridge, creating a ramp with the snow.
When Rhoades’ SUV hit the snow, it was launched over the bridge.
Rhoades, who at 25 became the youngest mayor in the history of the village of East Syracuse, died at age 28.
"Our focus, particularly in this juncture is the reflection of Jason's character in this award and the loss to his family but also in a way with this young man a loss to the community,” said Art Wentlandt, the Rhoades’ family’s attorney.
Just two days after Rhoades' SUV went off the bridge, another driver just a little bit farther down also went off the bridge and fell to his death.
But this case is entirely about Jason Rhoades and the award to try and help his family, even though it’s almost 10 years after the fact.
Wentlandt says the law is not meant to replace an individual – especially one like Rhoades.
In regards to an appeal of the judgment, a spokesperson for the State Attorney General’s Office says only that the case is under review.