Wrongful death lawsuit filed by widow of man ran over and dragged to death by flatbed trailer truck

By Nicholas Malfitano | Nov 29, 2018

PHILADELPHIA – The widow of a man killed when he was run over by a truck in a gas station parking lot, dragged and dismembered is pursuing damages against the entities she argues are responsible for her husband’s tragic death, who are attempting to avail themselves of liability and have the case venue switched.

Susan G. Pesce (individually and as administrator of the Estate of Charles P. Pesce Jr.) of Lebanon filed suit in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas on July 6 versus Christopher Norman of Lancaster, King Transport, LLC of Gordonville, Speedway, LLC of Enon, Ohio, Speedway #06753 of Fleetwood and Hess Realty, LLC of Findlay, Ohio.

“On the morning of July 9, 2016, Mr. Pesce stopped his truck at the Speedway gas station in Fleetwood, Pennsylvania (the accident site). After Mr. Pesce parked his truck in the designated truck parking area of the Speedway accident site, he walked across the parking lot and went into the convenience store to get coffee and a sandwich,” the suit says.

“Shortly thereafter, a 2007 Peterbilt truck hauling a flatbed trailer, owned by defendant King Transport and driven by defendant Norma, improperly parked the truck facing northbound in the drive aisle between the Speedway accident site’s convenience store and the diesel fuel pumps, and left his truck idling as he entered the convenience store.”

Norman is said to have left the truck in an area of heavy pedestrian traffic between the convenience store and diesel pumps. At about 7:42 a.m., Pesce exited the convenience store and walked back to his tractor-trailer.

“At the same time that Mr. Pesce was passing in front of defendant Norman’s truck, defendant Norman, abruptly and without warning, accelerated the truck forward, knocking Mr. Pesce off-balance and causing him to fall to the ground several feet in front of the bumper of the truck. Before Mr. Pesce had an opportunity to react, defendant Norman abruptly accelerated the truck and ran over Mr. Pesce, who in an attempt to save himself, grabbed onto the bumper of the truck with his hands,” the suit states.

“Mr. Pesce was trapped under defendant Norman’s truck as it traveled out of the parking lot and turned left onto Farmers Drive. Defendant Norman’s truck dragged Mr. Pesce through the Speedway accident site onto Farmers Drive and in the process, mutilated Mr. Pesce’s body and left parts of it spread over the path the truck traveled. Mr. Pesce, who had suffered from unspeakable physical and emotional trauma while being dragged under defendant Norman’s truck, was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident at approximately 8:35 a.m.”

The plaintiff alleges a combination of Norman’s negligence in improperly parking and driving the truck, his employer’s vicarious liability in being responsible for his professional conduct and the gas station’s premises liability in failing to prevent the accident caused her husband’s death.

In preliminary objections filed Aug. 27, the Speedway defendants refuted the plaintiff’s allegations tied to outrageous conduct and the desire for an award of punitive damages, claiming the complaint failed to set forth any allegations of actual conduct capable of supporting such a damages award – rather, they were “conclusory” and “unsupported by any facts.”

Replying with an answer to the objections on Sept. 17, counsel for Pesce denied the objections as conclusions of law to which no official responsive pleading was required.

In a separate filing on Nov. 12, counsel for defendants Norman and King Transport are seeking to have the matter transferred to Berks County, where the accident took place and where the plaintiff resided at the time.

For counts of negligence, vicarious liability, premises liability, wrongful death and survival, the plaintiff is seeking damages in excess of $50,000, plus interest, costs, punitive damages, delay damages and all other damages allowed by Pennsylvania law.

The plaintiff is represented by Dean F. Piermattei and Jill N. Weikert of Pillar Aught, in Harrisburg.

The defendants are represented by Michael T. Droogan Jr. of Ricci Tyrell Johnson & Grey and Matthew T. Pisano of Pisano Law Firm, also in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 180700695

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at nick.malfitano@therecordinc.com

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