Parents sue driver over child's death in accident

December 19, 1996|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

The parents and estate of a 9-year-old schoolgirl killed in December 1995 by a college student who was driving under the influence of alcohol have filed a $15 million lawsuit against the driver and her parents.

The plaintiffs, Randolph and Brenda Frazier of the 2500 block of Coon Club Road, allege in a civil lawsuit filed Monday in Carroll County Circuit Court that Lisa A. McLain, 21, of the 200 block of Opal Ave. in Westminster, was negligent and reckless in causing the death of their daughter, Ashley, who was crossing the road in front of her home to catch a school bus when the accident occurred Dec. 22.

The Fraziers contend that Edgar and Jacqua McLain, Lisa's parents, also were negligent for allowing their daughter to drive their car.

Lisa McLain, the lawsuit says, had twice pleaded guilty to speeding charges. The Fraziers contend she was charged for driving 78 mph in a 55 mph zone and 74 mph in a 55 mph zone in the 13 months before the fatal accident.

The Fraziers also said McLain's parents knew she was a frequent user of alcohol, that she admitted drinking alcohol 6 1/2 hours before the 8: 24 a.m. accident and that a Breathalyzer test administered nearly three hours later showed she was under the influence at the time of the accident.

McLain was convicted in a criminal trial Sept 30 of homicide by motor vehicle while under the influence, a misdemeanor; negligent driving; and failing to reduce speed on a narrow and winding road.

Circuit Judge Luke K. Burns Jr. found her innocent, however, of auto manslaughter, a felony.

On Nov. 27, Burns sentenced McLain to five days in jail and, upon her release, he ordered that she complete five years of supervised probation and perform six months of community service at the rate of 40 hours a week until June 1.

Burns also ordered that the Frostburg State University senior drink no alcohol while on probation, become involved for two years with Mothers Against Drunk Driving and speak to Carroll County students about the perils of drinking and driving.

In the civil lawsuit, filed on behalf of the plaintiffs by Beltsville attorney Joseph F. Gaffigan, the Fraziers are asking for $15 million on six counts, including $2.5 million in punitive damages for willful and reckless conduct by McLain and $12.5 million in compensatory damages against McLain and her parents.

Charles E. Stoner, a Westminster attorney representing the McLain family, said he was not aware the lawsuit had been filed and declined to comment.

Pub Date: 12/19/96

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