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Man Sues Dead Father-in-Law’s Estate!

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Grandfather’s estate sued on behalf of injured granddaughters

The father of two young girls injured in a fatal car crash two years ago in Hempfield filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the children’s deceased grandfather.

The two-count lawsuit brought by Gregory Uschock on behalf of daughters Madeline, 9, and Maura, 6, names the estate of William Donovan as defendant. Donovan, 65, of Trafford, died Feb. 19, 2007 when his car collided with another vehicle while turning from Eisaman Road onto Arona Road.

His two granddaughters were passengers in the back seat of the car and sustained injuries that left them hospitalized for several days.

“This is not a family vendetta sort of thing,” said James Fox, the lawyer for the Uschock family. “We tried to settle with the insurance company but we couldn’t.”

According to the lawsuit, Donovan, who was the girls’ maternal grandfather, did not have his car under proper control, failed to be attentive, observe traffic conditions, yield the right of way to another vehicle and was not able to avoid striking another car in part because he did not use his brakes.

The girls suffered numerous physical and psychological injuries and continue to require treatment, the Uschocks contend in the lawsuit.

The Uschocks are seeking an unspecified amount in damages from Donovan’s estate.

Fox said he had to file suit after he was unable to negotiate a reasonable settlement with Donovan’s insurance carrier, Erie Insurance Co. The deadline to file a lawsuit is today.

“Under Pennsylvania state law you can’t sue the insurance company, you can only sue the insured driver,” Fox said.

Erie Insurance spokeswoman Vanessa Paris did not respond to a request for comment.

In October 2007, Donovan’s wife filed a lawsuit against the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, PennDOT and Hempfield. Oral arguments on a motion to dismiss the lawsuit will be heard March 25 by Westmoreland County Judge Gary Caruso.

In that lawsuit, the Donovan family contends a detour, which was set up to guide motorists around the site where a bridge over the turnpike was being rebuilt, was poorly planned and marked. That situation led to the fatal crash, according to the two-year-old lawsuit.

Police said Donovan was traveling east on Eisaman Road about 3:40 p.m. and was attempting to turn left onto Arona Road when he pulled in front of a southbound pickup truck driven by Richard Guidas, 56, of Hunker. The front of the pickup truck struck the driver’s-side door of Donovan’s car.

Guidas was not named as a defendant in either lawsuit.

Donovan had picked up his grandchildren about 3:30 p.m. at Hempfield Elementary School, and could not take his usual route to the children’s house because of the road closure. He followed detour signs to the intersection of Wendel and Bristol roads, according to the lawsuit.

On Bristol Road the detour signs stopped and Donovan drove onto Eisaman Road, crossed a bridge over the turnpike and turned onto Arona Road, where the crash occurred, the family contends.

God Bless,
The Truth Tracker
Jason R. Bootie

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