Suit Stemming From Auto Wreck Seeks $2.75 Million

State, County And Driver Of Other Car Are Defendants

April 01, 1992|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Staff writer

Like on every other weekday morning, Rebecca Dobos got behind the wheel of her 1974 Dodge Dart just before 5 on Dec. 15, 1990, to begin the 45-minute commute from her Gettysburg, Pa., home to her letter-carrier job at the Westminster Post Office.

But the routine of this rainy, cold morning was shattered 35 minutes later when a car heading northbound on the Littlestown Pike crossed the center line and slammed into the front end of Dobos' southbound Dodge near Union Mills.

Dobos spent the next month at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center inBaltimore, hanging on to her life after suffering numerous and extensive injuries to her head, neck, back, arms and legs.

The 32-year-old mother spent months after her discharge from Shock Trauma ata rehabilitation hospital in Gettysburg. She will return to her post office job for the first time in about a month.

And, in a suit filed last month in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, she and her husband Mark, 34, will try to collect $2.75 million from the man driving the northbound car, the county commissioners and the state of Maryland.

The suit claims William George Hudson Jr. of Westminster was "negligent and careless", and that he was "operating his vehicle at a rate of speed in excess of that which was safe and prudent."

The suit -- filed by Baltimore attorney Laurence A. Marder on March 9 -- also contends Hudson's negligence caused "injury to (the Dobos's) marital relationship." They are seeking $1.25 million from Hudson.

Hudson could not be reached for comment.

The Doboses are suing the county andthe state for what they term improper maintenance and design of Littlestown Pike and Saw Mill Road.

The county and state "failed to post signs to effectively reduce the maximum speed limit for the section of these roadways where the collision occurred, failed to design . . . the road conditions so as to be reasonably safe for vehicles . . . and failed to warn drivers of the (road's) dangers," according to the suit.

In addition, the suit names as defendants County Commissioner President Donald I. Dell and State Treasurer Lucille Maurer.

County attorney Charles W. Thompson Jr. would not elaborate on the suit but said he believed that the county would probably not be involved long because it is not responsible for the maintenance of the Littlestown Pike.

The Doboses, however, say they will live with the accident for years.

"She was almost dead," Mark Dobos said from his home in Gettysburg. "They had to cut the roof off the car just to get her out. She was tossed around in that car pretty badly."

An industrial mechanic, Mark Dobos said a call from Maryland State Police alerted him to his wife's accident about 9 a.m. that day.

"My wife's supervisor called me at about 7 that morning to tell me she hadn't come into work yet," he recalled. "I didn't know what had happened until the state police down there called. I had to race down to Shock Trauma."

The couple has been married for 11 years and has a daughter.

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