PITTSBURGH (KDKA)- A Kittanning man and the company he worked for was ordered to pay $32 million to the family of a boy killed in a 2012 crash.
Elijah straw was one week away from his seventh birthday when he was killed. His family’s car, a Pontiac Vibe, was having car trouble as the family traveled north on Route 28 on May 1, 2012.
They were hit by a truck driven by Kirk Fair, of Kittanning.
“He did nothing until 0.6 seconds before impact and his vehicle weighed 7,500 pounds and he ran directly into the back of the Straw vehicle,” said attorney Jon Perry, who represented the Straw family in the lawsuit.
Six-year-old Elijah was killed in the crash. His parents and younger brother were injured.
Perry said Fair had 20 seconds to change lanes or stop his vehicle, before it crashed into the Straw family’s car. Tuesday, an Allegheny County jury returned a $32 million verdict, reportedly one of the largest in a wrongful death lawsuit in Allegheny County, involving the death of a child.
“It’s not just about money, how much money the child would have made in their lifetime,” said Perry. “It’s about the real life experience, the love of a parent, the love of a brother, the love of a child and this jury understood that.”
Perry said Fair, who had a previous DUI, should not have been driving the truck that belonged to Golon Masonry. He said Fair didn’t have a valid Pennsylvania driver’s license when was hired by the company.
“There was no excuse for this accident,” Perry said. ”There was no excuse for the owner of this company to have given this man the keys to his vehicle because he had a very checkered past and a very bad driving record.”
Fair pleaded guilty to homicide by vehicle, speeding and reckless endangerment. He was sentenced to six to 23 months in jail and five years on probation.