TribLIVE

| News

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Belle Vernon family suing VFD over crash

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.
Friday, May 17, 2013, 7:15 p.m.
 

A Belle Vernon family alleges in a lawsuit that a Rostraver Central Volunteer Fire Department truck did not have its siren activated and ignored a red light when it slammed into a sport utility vehicle on July 4.

Members of the Timothy and Jennifer Kolodychak family are seeking unspecified damages against Rostraver Township, its volunteer fire department and fireman Justin Shawley, who was driving the truck, in a civil lawsuit filed this week in Westmoreland County Common Pleas Court.

The Kolodychak's 8-year-old son, Logan, was severely injured in the crash at 6:50 p.m. He was initially treated at Monongahela Valley Hospital in Carroll Township, Washington County, then was airlifted to UPMC Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh, where he reportedly had facial reconstructive surgery.

According to the lawsuit, Jennifer Kolodychak was driving west on Fellsburg Road in a 2006 GMC Suburban and was approaching the intersection with Fellsburg Church Road.

Logan was buckled into a second-row seat in the SUV, along with his sister, Kendall, then 11.

Logan suffered traumatic brain injuries, bruises and abrasions to his head, and permanent scarring to his face, according to the lawsuit.

Kendall remains traumatized by the accident and suffers from anxiety and nightmares, the suit states.

Jennifer Kolodychak required treatment for injuries at Monongahela Valley Hospital.

The lawsuit alleges that Shawley was negligent for driving at an unsafe speed, that other firefighters aboard the truck failed to maintain proper lookout as they approached the intersection, and that Shawley failed to properly control the vehicle.

A police report on the accident said the truck's emergency lights “and audible” alarm were activated as it approached the intersection. Fireman Martin Palla was acting as “a lookout for Shawley,” police said.

The Kolodychaks' attorney, Henry Wallace of the Pittsburgh firm McKenna & Associates, said there are several differences in the description of the accident in the township police report and the civil lawsuit.

Wallace said he intends to challenge the veracity of the police report at trial.

The lawsuit alleges that Shawley had a red traffic light as he entered the intersection southbound and collided with Kolodychak, who had a green light.

“... Shawley and the (fire department) were not responding to a fire or other serious emergency. On the date and time aforesaid, fire truck, being operated by Shawley, failed to make use of an audible emergency signal. Shawley failed to stop or slow down as he approached the red traffic light,” the lawsuit alleges.

Shawley was not cited by police after the accident, according to court dockets.

Neither township solicitor Al Gaudio nor Shawley returned messages seeking comment on the lawsuit.

Paul Peirce is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Westmoreland

  1. Bridge project forces closing of Route 30
  2. Hempfield Area considers renovations at high school
  3. Members of North Huntingdon family attacked by rabid otter in Va.
  4. K-9 officer Blek chosen as grand marshal of Fort Ligonier Days parade
  5. Former guard at Westmoreland jail focus of sex assault probe, DA confirms
  6. Heroin, marijuana found in car in Greensburg, driver arrested
  7. Junction project on 1-70 at Westmoreland exchange to begin
  8. Zimbabwe alleges Murrysville doctor illegally killed lion
  9. Youngwood to purchase swing, table to satisfy state regulations
  10. Blairsville man killed in single-vehicle crash in Derry Township
  11. Greensburg native runs unique catering service in California