Indianapolis-based truckload carrier Celadon Group reached a last-minute $1.25 million settlement with the family of an Army officer killed in a March 2002 accident with an owner-operator contracted to carrier one day before a jury returned a $17.5 million compensatory and punitive damage award.

According to the Associated Press, Celadon agreed to pay $1.25 million to the parents of 2nd Lt. Matthew Giuliano, 23, who died when his car rear-ended a tractor-trailer owned and operated by Tom and Nelta Osborn (now divorced) stalled in the middle of a Texas highway after a brake hose repair – using a toothpick and tape – failed. The parents of Giuliano agreed not to appeal as part of the settlement.

The family reached the settlement last Thursday with Celadon as the jury deliberated in Waco, Texas, said the AP, and eventually handed down a $17.5 million award.

However, despite the jury award, Texas law would in this case have placed a $2.5 million cap, the AP said.

“Our thoughts continue to be with the family and friends of Lt. Giuliano,” said Celadon chairman & CEO Steve Russell. “This tragic situation was an isolated incident and is not reflective of the way our company does business. The owner-operator team involved was immediately suspended after the accident and never drove for the company again.”