Auto repair service and tow truck operator face wrongful death claim arising from fatal accident
The estate of a man who was fatally wounded after a tow truck being driven by an employee of a New Jersey-based auto repair business made an illegal U-turn overtop a median strip on a busy Philadelphia thoroughfare has filed a wrongful death claim against the truck’s driver, the auto repair service and the driver of the vehicle in which the deceased was a passenger at the time of the accident. Philadelphia attorneys Steven G. Wigrizer and Jason S. Weiss, of the firm Wapner, Newman, Wigrizer, Brecher & Miller, filed the civil action Feb. 4 at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas on behalf of Frances M. Kollock, who is identified as the administratrix of the estate of the late Brian M. Kollock. The defendants named in the complaint are Cologne, N.J.-based A.C. Sports Inc., doing business as Denny’s Auto Repair, Northfield, N.J. resident Steven Russ and Philadelphia resident Joseph Peronace. According to the complaint, Brian Kollock was a passenger in a vehicle driven by Peronace back on Dec. 25, 2011, heading southbound in the inner lanes of Roosevelt Boulevard, which was once named one of the country’s most dangerous roads. Around that same time, Russ was operating a flatbed tow truck owned by Denny’s in a southbound direction in the outer lanes of the boulevard. The suit says that prior to this point, Russ was operating his vehicle in the wrong direction on Roosevelt Boulevard, traveling the wrong way in the southbound lanes until he made a U-turn, causing his vehicle to travel over the center divider, and placing his truck in the path of Peronace’s car. The two vehicles collided at this point, causing Kollock to sustain fatal injuries. The lawsuit claims that Russ was using his cell phone at the time he “recklessly and outrageously made an illegal left hand turn from the outer lanes of Roosevelt Boulevard onto Deveraux Avenue, which caused the aforesaid collision.” “Defendant Russ knew it was illegal to make the left hand turn from the outer lanes of Roosevelt Boulevard onto Deveraux Avenue yet, despite this knowledge, willfully, wantonly, and recklessly made the turn,” the suit states. Kollock, the lawsuit claims, suffered “excruciating and agonizing injuries,” including multiple blunt force trauma, which ultimately led to his untimely death. “Plaintiff’s decedent sustained pre-impact fright, post-impact fright, pain and suffering, loss of physical function, loss of life’s pleasures, loss of future earning capacity, [and] medical expenses …,” the lawsuit states. The complaint goes on to state that Russ’s decision to make an illegal U-turn while using his cellular phone constituted a reckless indifference to the rights of others, and warrants the imposition of punitive damages. The suit accuses Denny’s Auto Repair of failing to adequately supervise Russ, negligently retaining Russ and negligently entrusting the company vehicle to Russ. Lastly, the complaint accuses Peronace, the driver of the vehicle in which Kollock was riding, of failing to operate his vehicle under adequate and proper control, failing to use due caution in driving his vehicle, failing to maintain a proper lookout and failing to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances. The plaintiff seeks more than $50,000 in compensatory damages plus punitive damages and other costs. The case ID number is 130200055.