LANCASTER – A Lancaster County couple believe the death of their adult son three years ago as a result of a motor vehicle accident and subsequent medical complications was the fault of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

The Estate of Reuben W. Weaver III, Reuben H. Weaver Jr. and Ella H. Weaver of Ephrata filed suit in the Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas on Aug. 28 versus the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, of Harrisburg.

On April 21, 2014, Reuben W. Weaver III was driving eastbound on Schoeneck Road in Ephrata, when he approached an intersection that Schoeneck Road shared with Springville Road.

A pick-up truck driven by Roseann H. Martin was traveling westbound and approached the intersection. At this point, Weaver III stopped his vehicle, intending to make a left turn northbound onto Springville Road after the pick-up truck had passed through the intersection.

The lawsuit says for motorists traveling west at this intersection, there is no stop sign.

At the same time, Inderpal Kaur was the driver of a car heading southbound on Springville Road and had stopped her car when it came to the intersection in question, as directed by the posted stop sign.

But believing that since Weaver III stopped for Martin’s pick-up truck, Kaur also believed he would stop for her vehicle and proceeded into the intersection, the lawsuit says.

When Kaur’s vehicle did that, it collided with the truck driven by Martin, with the collision forcing the truck to roll through the intersection, the lawsuit says. As a result, Martin’s truck rolled right over Weaver III’s vehicle, the suit says.

Upon response by EMT’s and being brought to Lancaster General Hospital, it was determined Weaver III suffered a diffuse axonal brain injury, brain hemorrhaging, brain swelling, broken ribs, a right foot injury and multiple fractures in the cervical spine, which left him in a coma for almost a month, the suit says.

Due to his injuries, Weaver III contracted pneumonia while receiving treatment at both Lancaster General Hospital and Harrisburg Hospital, and eventually died on May 18, 2014, from complications of aspiration pneumonia, complications of multiple traumatic injuries and the vehicle crash, the suit says.

The two surviving plaintiffs, Weaver III’s parents and an elderly couple, relied on their son to help with finances, household chores and taking them to and from medical appointments, the suit says. It is also alleged that Ella witnessed her son’s fatal accident.

The lawsuit argues the Department of Transportation had the responsibility of maintaining the intersection and claims that entity improperly designed it without concern for motorist safety by not having an all-ways stop, since a number of other accidents have happened at the same intersection. Additionally, the suit says Ephrata Township put the defendant on notice of the dangerous conditions at the intersection.   

For counts of negligence, survival, wrongful death, negligent infliction of emotional distress, the plaintiffs are seeking damages in excess of $50,000.

The plaintiffs are represented by William Rush of Rush Law Group, in Reading.

Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas case 16-03419

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at nickpennrecord@gmail.com

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