The family of a Crownsville man killed last September on U.S. 50 at the Severn River bridge has filed a $24 million suit accusing an autoleasing company of negligence for allowing an employee, charged in the accident, to drive a company vehicle while his license was suspended.
Motor vehicle records show the employee, identified as EverettEugene Peyton Jr., also had his license suspended eight times after receiving several speeding tickets in the previous nine years, according to the suit.
In the suit, filed last week in county Circuit Court, the survivors of Max Alberto Briceno Carvajal say Lustine Nissan Inc., trading as Lustine Lease-A-Car of Lanham, knew or should have known that Peyton had a history of speeding and having his license suspended when they allowed him to drive a company vehicle.
"Lustine Nissan was not aware of the suspended license," Kevin Colabucci, company general manager, said yesterday. He refused to comment further. Peyton, who has an unlisted phone number, could not be reached for comment.
Michael L. Wilsman, a lawyer representing Carvajal's family, said Peyton was charged with negligent driving and driving on a suspended license in connection with the accident.
Carvajal, 25, was one of two people killed in the Sept. 17 accident on the bridge outside Annapolis. Also killled was Cheryl Elizabeth Fincham, 23, of Crownsville.
Investigators said they were killed when a pickup truck smashed into theirtruck and a trailer carrying gardening equipment, pinning them in the wreckage. They had stopped in the fast lane on the bridge and got out to check on the trailer hitch of their truck.
The accident caused police to close the eastbound lanes on the bridge for two hours, producing a backup of several miles.
The suit was filed by Mary F. Ruppert Briceno as Carvajal's widow and as representative of the man's estate and their minor son, Marco Antonio Briceno.
The suit seeks a total of $20 million for the surviving mother and child's pain and suffering; another $4 million for the pain suffered by Carvajal before he died and for medical, funeral and legal expenses.