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Inn is sued over accident

May 27, 2004|by JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

A Clear Spring woman is suing the owner of the Shamrock Inn for $2.5 million, alleging that a man who had been drinking at the bar got into a pickup truck and pulled in front of her car, causing her severe and permanent injuries.

In an earlier lawsuit Karen Ann Worthington filed in Washington County Circuit Court in connection with the accident last June, Worthington asked for $1.5 million each from the driver and his wife, who supplied the pickup truck.

In a lawsuit filed on May 13 in Washington County Circuit Court, Worthington alleges that Jeff's Enterprises Inc. was negligent by serving liquor to Harry Edward Lerch at the 15411 National Pike bar.

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Worthington was driving her Ford Escort toward Williamsport on the evening of June 10, 2003 - two days before she was to graduate from Clear Spring High School - when a pickup truck pulled out of the tavern lot into her path on U.S. 40.

On April 6 in Circuit Court, Lerch was sentenced to three years in state prison for driving under the influence and driving with a revoked license.

Worthington told the court she had 15 scars running down her right leg and another scar from her sternum to below her navel. She has no spleen, can't play sports and was told she might never carry a child to full term.

In the lawsuit, Worthington alleges Lerch was served and consumed a number of intoxicating beverages at the Shamrock for several hours before the collision and that was the "proximate cause" of the collision.

The lawsuit was to be served on Ray H. Miller of 915 Kuhn Ave.

A man, who answered the phone at the bar Tuesday and identified himself as a bartender, said Miller owned the Shamrock.

A woman at the bar Tuesday identified herself on the phone as Mrs. Miller and said, "We have nothing to say."

In the earlier lawsuit filed in December, Worthington sued Lerch for $1.5 million alleging negligence and sued his wife, formerly known as Tina M. Weddle, for $1.5 million, alleging she negligently entrusted the truck to Lerch, court records state.

She knew or had reason to know her husband could be reckless, incompetent and dangerous based on "his prior history of driving while intoxicated or under the influence," the lawsuit states.

Washington County Assistant State's Attorney Arthur Rozes has said Lerch had two prior convictions for alcohol-related driving offenses.

A memo in the case file from Washington County Circuit Judge Frederick C. Wright III states no action was to be taken in the lawsuit against the Lerches until the Shamrock case was resolved.

In a response filed in court records, the Lerches deny each allegation of negligence.

Tina Lerch, of 13122 Goldizen Lane, northeast of Clear Spring, said Tuesday she had no comment about the lawsuit.

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