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Father of dead bicyclist sues drunken driver

| Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013, 12:02 a.m.

The father of a Hopwood man who was killed when his bicycle was struck by a drunken driver has filed a wrongful death lawsuit.

Parrish Robert George, 19, was killed Nov. 2, 2011, when his bicycle was hit by a sport utility vehicle driven by Gustavo Palmar, 53, of 107 Belmont Circle, Uniontown, at Beeson Avenue and Fayette Street.

Police said the bicycle fell over just before the collision and slid underneath Palmar's SUV.

Two witnesses reported Palmar had a green light, police said.

Palmar's blood-alcohol content after the accident was 0.093 percent, according to court testimony. Under state law, a motorist is considered to be intoxicated at 0.08 percent.

Palmar pleaded no contest to driving under the influence and was sentenced this month to serve six months on probation. District Attorney Jack Heneks had said that charges were limited to the DUI because an accident reconstruction did not show gross negligence or reckless conduct on Palmar's part.

On Monday, Parrish T. George, on behalf of his son's estate, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Palmar. Named as additional defendants are Superior Ford Lincoln Mercury of Morgantown, W.Va., and the former Superior Ford of Uniontown.

In the suit, George contends his son rode his bicycle into a pedestrian crosswalk on Fayette Street because Palmar's SUV, which was traveling east on Fayette Street, was in the right-hand turning lane and signaling to make a right-hand turn onto Beeson.

Instead, Palmar's SUV continued traveling straight — into the intersection — striking the bicycle, according to the lawsuit. George was dragged 100 feet before the SUV stopped. He was pronounced dead a short time later in Uniontown Hospital.

Palmar could not be reached for comment at the dealership in Morgantown. It is named as a defendant because Palmar was driving one of its vehicles, according to the lawsuit.

Superior Ford of Uniontown went out of business approximately five years ago, and Palmar is not an employee of the new dealership that occupies the same space, Ford of Uniontown, said David Coffman, co-owner of the new dealership.

Parrish T. George and his son's other survivors, including his mother, Melissa K. Knight, and grandmother, Gwendolyn M. Knight, are seeking in excess of $50,000 in damages.

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

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