Traffic death results in $1 million settlement

November 18, 1998|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Insurance companies last week agreed to pay more than $1 million to the victims of a February fatal accident involving Southampton Township Supervisor Samuel F. Cressler.

The wife and three children of Michael R. Brenize, 37, of 20 Richwalter St., Shippensburg, Pa., will receive $845,000 under the agreement approved Nov. 10 by Franklin County Judge John R. Walker. Brenize died in a February accident in Hopewell Township in Cumberland County, according to Pennsylvania State Police.

Another victim will get $200,000, according to the Brenize family's attorney, Philip S. Cosentino.

Cosentino said $800,000 of the settlement goes to Jacqueline J. Brenize and her three children. Scott Hoover, whom Cosentino does not represent, will get $200,000, according to court records.

Along with the $800,000 from Cressler's insurance company, Cosentino said the Brenize family will get $45,000 from one of Michael Brenize's underinsured motorist policies.


Brenize was a self-employed truck driver. Cosentino said a settlement has yet to be reached on a second underinsured motorist policy he held.

The one-vehicle accident occurred Feb. 20 on Ridge Road. According to the state police report, Cressler lost control of a car and hit a tree.

Michael Brenize was a passenger in the car. Hoover suffered broken hips, ribs and a pulmonary contusion, according to records at the Franklin County Prothonotary's Office.

Although the accident occurred in Cumberland County, Cosentino said Brenize was a Franklin County resident, as is Cressler.

Cressler, 37, of 9400 Molly Pitcher Highway, Shippensburg, received a jail sentence of six to 23 months in Cumberland County for homicide by vehicle. He is serving his sentence in Franklin County Prison, according to a prison official.

Elected in 1997, Cressler is still a township supervisor, according to an employee at the municipal office.

The settlement offered by Cressler and Brenize's insurance companies "sounds like a lot of money, but you're dealing with the loss of a father and the loss of a husband," Cosentino said. "We're dealing with the insurance companies paying the limit of their coverage."

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