North Huntingdon woman sues Wendel-Herminie club over charity motorcycle wreck
A North Huntingdon woman who was injured when she was thrown from the back of a motorcycle last summer during a charity event contends a local social club that sponsored the benefit ride was at fault.
According to a two-count lawsuit filed in Westmoreland County, Kelly Franz said members of the Wendel-Herminie No. 2 Athletic Association of North Huntingdon assigned flaggers to direct traffic during the Aug. 11 event. Flaggers left their posts early and allowed traffic to encroach on an intersection where she was injured, the lawsuit contends.
Franz was a passenger on the back of a motorcycle driven by Kevin Thompson. She was thrown from the motorcycle when it was struck by a 2013 Camaro owned by Tamara Ohler of Indiana County at the intersection of state routes 819 and 380 in Bell Township, the lawsuit states.
“As a prerequisite to the benefit ride, defendant Wendel undertook the responsibility of employing flaggers and ensuring … the intersection … was blocked and or closed off for the safety of their motorcycle riders and passengers,” according to the lawsuit.
Thompson, 45, of North Huntingdon, died as a result of injuries he suffered in the crash.
Club officials did not respond Tuesday to a request for comment.
Ohler, who is named as a defendant along with an unknown occupant in her car, could not be reached for comment. The lawsuit did not specify whether Ohler was the car’s driver or a passenger.
Franz, the lawsuit said, was flown to an undisclosed UPMC hospital and remained there for five days to be treated for leg and foot fractures, a concussion and other injuries.
According to the lawsuit, the social club was negligent for organizing a benefit ride without ensuring intersections along the route were properly blocked off during the event, allowed regular traffic onto the course and improperly permitted flaggers to leave before the event had ended.
Franz is seeking unspecified damages from the club and Ohler for pain and suffering, loss of physical function, permanent injuries, humiliation and embarrassment, permanent scarring and loss of life’s pleasures.
Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293, [email protected] or via Twitter .