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Fourth lawsuit filed in van crash

May 18, 2009|By ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN -- A fourth lawsuit has been filed against the driver of a van that was involved in a fatal crash in May 2008 as it was taking a group of men to a seniors softball tournament.

One of the previous suits was filed by the widow of Clifford J. Rice, 72, who died in the May 21, 2008, crash at the intersection of Md. 66 and Interstate 70.

Rice was killed when the 2003 Chevrolet Custom van driven by Robin Poffenberger drove into the path of a tractor-trailer, Maryland State Police said at the time of the accident. Six other men were taken to area hospitals.

In a suit filed Friday in Washington County Circuit Court, Gary E. Gruber asked for $500,000 from Poffenberger.

Poffenberger failed to yield the right of way to the tractor-trailer, according to Gruber's suit. His negligence caused Gruber serious injuries and Gruber incurred medical costs for his treatment, the lawsuit alleges.

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Another man injured in the accident, Jack Finniff, and his wife filed a lawsuit in January. Finniff, of Hagerstown, was flown by helicopter to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore following the accident, reports say.

Jack Finniff asked for $2 million, alleging in court documents that Poffenberger's negligence while driving caused Finniff "to suffer his severe injuries."

Gardner L. Stewart, who also was flown to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center following the accident, filed suit Feb. 24 seeking $3 million from Poffenberger.

In the suit, Stewart alleges he suffered serious and permanent injuries, severe mental and emotional anguish, and continuing and debilitating pain and suffering because of the carelessness and negligence of the defendant.

Court records show that a judge has consolidated the suits brought by Finniff and Stewart.

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