Family Sues PennDOT after Teen Killed in Car Wreck

Family Sues PennDOT after Teen Killed in Car Wreck


Sometimes, accidents are caused by the negligence of another person. Other times, the negligence of a state agency or another entity is to blame.

This is what the family of a boy who was killed in December 2007 car wreck is arguing before a Pennsylvania jury this week. They contend that the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is responsible for the 17-year-old’s fatal car wreck because of a dangerous stretch of road that was not properly built.

The attorney for the family said that the accident occurred on a Gordon road that had one lane that was “completely flooded” because of poor design. More specifically, the attorney told jurors that PennDOT approved an 8-percent slant on the road and spaced drains too far apart, which violated state law.

An officer who investigated the crash was called to the stand and testified that he believed the condition of the road, with a puddle more than 142-feet long, was the major cause of the accident.

“The prime factor was the water, in my investigative opinion,” he said. But speed also likely played a role, he concluded. An attorney for PennDOT argued that speed was the primary cause of the accident and it is believed that the teen was traveling at least 60 mph in a 35 mph zone.

What the two parties can agree on is that the one-vehicle accident occurred on Dec. 23, 2007 at about 10:10 p.m. when the teenager lost control of his vehicle and it flipped over on East Biddle Street, also known as State Route 4006. The teen died less than an hour after the crash of massive head injuries.

The family is seeking an unspecified amount of damages from PennDOT. The jury trial was set to continue today and could take several more days to complete.

Source: Republican Herald, “Trial starts in fatal Gordon car crash,” Peter E. Bortner, March 6, 2012