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Uniontown driver injured in crash sues Fayette fair board, horse owner

| Friday, Jan. 23, 2015, 3:47 p.m.

A Uniontown driver who rear-ended a vehicle that had struck a horse in July on Route 119 has filed a civil lawsuit against the horse's owner and the organization that runs the Fayette County Fair.

Joyce Thorpe is seeking more than $50,000 from Mark A. Wilson of Scottdale and the Fayette County Agricultural Improvement Association.

Thorpe fractured her ribs and right foot, and suffered lung trauma, nerve damage and bruising on July 31 when her Chevrolet Cavalier hit the back of a sport utility vehicle that stopped on Route 119 south when it hit a horse, according to the lawsuit, which was filed in the prothonotary's office.

The horse was stabled at the Fayette County Fairgrounds for the 2014 fair. Police said it ran from the fairgrounds and into the path of a southbound Chevy Suburban driven by a Delaware County man, who was visiting relatives in North Union.

Thorpe was flown to UPMC Presbyterian in Pittsburgh for treatment, according to police. The driver of the SUV, Vincent Marsero; his wife, Cheryl; and two children, Vincent, 15, and Melinda, 21, were treated in Uniontown Hospital, police said.

Thorpe's attorney, Edward J. Balzarini Jr. of Pittsburgh, contends in the lawsuit that the horse was frightened by exploding fireworks.

The fair association failed to warn horse owners of the need to restrain their animals during the discharge of fireworks, the lawsuit contends. The association failed to erect fencing to confine the animals to the fairgrounds; had no safe area to confine horses; and failed to supervise horse owners, the suit claims.

Wilson, whose horse died when it was thrown into the SUV's windshield, should have known “that fireworks were scheduled to be set off at the fairgrounds at the time of the incident,” according to the lawsuit.

The Scottdale man was negligent for failing to confine the animal to a trailer or other secure area, and for allowing it to leave the fairgrounds and run onto the highway, Balzarini contends.

Neither Wilson nor William Jackson, president of the fair board, could be reached for comment.

Liz Zemba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-601-2166 or lzemba@tribweb.com.

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