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Woman suing county for fall

September 28, 2000

Woman suing county for fall



By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI / Staff Writer


A Waynesboro, Pa., woman whose head and neck were injured in a 40-foot fall from a hang gliding platform at a Washington County park last year is suing the Washington County Commissioners and two hang gliding associations for $3 million.

Erica Leigh Loveland, 11645 Country Club Court in Waynesboro, filed suit Wednesday in Washington County Circuit Court against the County Commissioners, Capitol Hang Glider Association of Rockville, Md., and the Maryland Hang Gliding Association, Inc. of Hunt Valley, Md.

Loveland, then 18, alleged in court documents that she "was caused to fall off the ledge" while taking pictures May 8, 1999. She had serious permanent injuries and suffered mental anguish as a result, court documents alleged.

In the suit, Loveland alleges the defendants allowed a dangerous situation to exist at the park by not having security at the site, not installing a fence, not putting up warning signs about possible danger, not preventing access to the road leading to the hang gliding platform and not installing guard rails or hand rails.

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"The property and in particular the High Rock ledge where the hang gliding is performed is dangerous and unsafe and improperly maintained and constructed," court documents contended.

Loveland in the suit is seeking $1 million from each of the defendants.

According to the suit, Loveland "did not in any way contribute to her accident or fall," at the popular hang gliding site in northeastern Washington County.

The accident occurred when Loveland lost her footing as she stepped from a rock to a metal platform used by hang gliders.

She fell 40 feet and landed on a ledge. Rescue crews climbed down the side of the mountain and loaded her into a basket that was raised into a helicopter. She was flown to Washington County Hospital for treatment of head and neck injuries, Washington County Sheriff's deputies said at the time.

Loveland's attorney, Arthur Schneider of Hagerstown, said his client "spent an extended amount of time" in the hospital as a result and has permanent injures that still require treatment.

A phone listing for Capitol Hang Glider Association and Maryland Hang Gliding Association officials was unavailable Wednesday evening.

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