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Family of man killed by truck driver settles suit

BEAUFORT (AP) — The widow of a Bluffton man shot to death by a tow-truck driver in 2010 has settled a lawsuit against the man and several co-defendants for nearly $2 million.

The settlement of $1.75 million was approved by a judge last month, The Island Packet of Hilton Head reported.

The attorney for Zabdi Olivera says the settlement was reached with tow truck driver Preston Oates, the Edgefield Homeowners Association, IMC Resort Services and Pro-Tow LLC.

Thirty-four-year Carlos Olivera was shot on Christmas Eve in front of his wife and children while visiting family in the subdivision. Investigators say the shooting stemmed from an argument between Carlos Olivera and Oates after he booted Olivera’s vehicle.

Oates has been charged with manslaughter. He said the shooting was self-defense under South Carolina’s “Castle Doctrine.” Oates is appealing a 2012 court ruling that he is subject to criminal prosecution.

The lawsuit accused the neighborhood association, the towing company and the property manager of negligence regarding neighborhood rules that prohibit parking on the street or on the grass, of being overly aggressive in enforcing the rules and other issues, said William Harvey III, the attorney for Zabdi Olivera.

“This is a great settlement all the way around because it prevents years of litigation,” Harvey said.

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