DELAWARE, Ohio—A former Ohio State University football star who filed a lawsuit in 2014 to clear his name over a road-rage incident in the city of Delaware didn’t live to see the $6.5 million settlement announced Thursday by attorneys for his estate.
Jim Stillwagon, 68, a former defensive lineman on the Buckeyes’ 1968 national championship team and a native of Mount Vernon, died in February 2018. Before that, he was known to visit reporters, attorneys and government officials — anyone who would listen — in an effort to repair his reputation following a 2012 road-rage incident which resulted in felony charges brought against him by Delaware police.
The settlement followed two days of mediation between the estate’s attorneys and attorneys representing the city’s insurance company in federal court in Columbus. U.S. District Judge Edmund A. Sargus agreed to the terms.
Delaware officials said in a prepared statement that the city is not admitting guilt. The city’s insurance company’s opted to settle.
Stillwagon’s widow will represent him and their three adult daughters at a news conference Friday morning at Stillwagon Enterprises, 6500 Shier Rings Road in Dublin.
On Sept. 30, 2012, Stillwagon was chased by Richard Mattingly, who later admitted to being intoxicated driving his truck and targeting Stillwagon on his motorcycle.
As the two turned into a parking lot on William Street in Delaware, Stillwagon fired his Glock handgun at the truck in what he said later was self-defense. Police said Stillwagon then hit Mattingly with the butt of his gun, and it discharged.
Police said at the time that a bullet grazed Mattingly in the head, but a police report indicates that Mattingly left the hospital before a diagnosis could be made.
Attorney James D. McNamara called much of the story “lies, believed by many to this day, that nearly destroyed Mr. Stillwagon’s reputation, and severely damaged his business,” according to a news release issued Thursday.
“Stillwagon is now vindicated by this historic settlement payment of $6.5 million to his estate,” the release said.