Firm must pay $16 million in fatal accident One was killed, 6 hurt in '94 crash on Beltway

October 11, 1997|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore County jury has ordered Gunther's Leasing Transport Inc. of Hanover in Anne Arundel County, to pay nearly $16 million in damages and medical expenses to eight plaintiffs involved in a 1994 accident on the Capital Beltway that killed one person and injured six others.

On Thursday, the jury, which heard a monthlong trial before Circuit Judge Christian M. Kahl, awarded $13 million of that to a Prince George's County construction worker, Brian Buber, who was brain-damaged in the accident and left in a wheelchair, according to the verdict sheet from Circuit Court files.

Buber and three other men were repaving lanes of the Beltway in the early hours of Sept. 19, 1994, when a Budget rental truck collided with a tractor trailer owned by the Gunther trucking company, said Calvin Jenkins Jr., one of several lawyers involved in the case.

"As a result, the two vehicles went through an active construction zone where men were on rollers and repaving lanes of the Capital Beltway," said Jenkins.

In addition to injuries sustained by the construction workers, a passenger in the tractor-trailer -- the brother of the driver -- was killed. The tractor-trailer driver also was seriously injured, and the Budget rental driver received minor injuries.

Jenkins said the case was consolidated from five lawsuits originally filed in Prince George's, Baltimore City and Baltimore County. The jury deliberated for nearly seven hours.

Jenkins, who represented David Teague, the Budget rental truck driver, said his client was found not to be negligent.

But the jury did find Gunther negligent, according to the verdict sheets. Lawyers for Gunther could not be reached last night.

Jonathan Claiborne, a lawyer who represented the Bryn Awel Corp., the construction company, said his client was awarded $1 million in damages.

Other plaintiffs in the case, including the estate of Keith Briscoe Jr., the tractor-trailer passenger killed in the accident, also were awarded damages.

Pub Date: 10/11/97

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