The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

November 7, 2012

Deal reached in wrongful death suit

EBENSBURG — Judge Patrick Kiniry has approved a $175,000 settlement in a wrongful death civil action filed by the widow of a Summerhill man who was killed by a car while collecting frogs for school biology classes.

The legal action was filed by Deborah J. Bodenschatz, the administrator for the estate of her husband, Thomas A. Bodenschatz.

The 66-year-old victim was killed about

12:45 a.m. May 5 while standing alongside William Beach Road in Summerhill Township, according to the court petition.

His vehicle – with his wife sitting inside it – was parked on the roadway with the four-way flashers activated, attorney Dennis McGlynn, who represents the estate, said.

Authorities reported that a car driven by

17-year-old Jerreth Cameron of Summerhill Township rounded a curve and swerved to avoid hitting the parked car and struck Bodenschatz.

The owner of the car driven by Cameron was identified as Barry Smith of Portage, who gave his daughter permission to use the vehicle, township police reported. The girl asked Cameron to drive, it was reported.

Under the settlement, Allstate Insurance Co., which insured Smith’s car, is paying $100,000; Progressive Insurance Co., insuring Cameron, paid $25,000; and The Hartford, which had underinsured coverage for Bodenschatz, $50,000. McGlynn is to be paid 25 percent of the settlement.

The district attorney’s office ruled out filing criminal charges because there was no evidence that gross negligence was involved.

However, police said that the teenage driver was issued traffic citations for careless driving and driving without a license.

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