Civil Claims Over Fatal Ohio Bicycle Crash

     CLEVELAND (CN) – A man who killed two and wounded three others when he crashed his pickup truck into a group of bicyclists faces civil negligence claims from the victims and their families.
     The lawsuit comes four months after a jury acquitted Timothy Wolf, of Macedonia, Ohio, in connection to the Sept. 17, 2015, crash.
     Cleveland.com quotes Wolf as having told investigators he didn’t see the bicyclists riding downhill in Brecksville because of glare from the sun.
     When Wolf turned left turn on the road and collided with the cyclists, 33-year-old Matthew Billings was killed on impact.
     James Lambert, 52, clung on for seven days but also died.
     Representatives of Billings and Lambert’s estates filed suit Thursday in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, joined by three other cyclists involved in the crash, Catherine Hilston, William Kotich and Brian Kincaid.
     The trio of survivors say they all suffered serious, potentially permanent injuries, as well as psychological trauma and damage to their bicycles.
     Wolf, the owner of Wolfscape Inc., Wolfscape Snowplowing LLC and The Stoneyard Inc., faced two counts of vehicular homicide and one count of willful or wanton disregard of public safety for his role in the accident, a jury acquitted him in February.
     Cleveland-area bicycle advocacy group Bike Cleveland lambasted the verdict.
     “More insidious arguments were put forth that not only alleviated blame from Wolf, but shifted it to the deceased victims themselves,” the group said on its website
     “Were they wearing brightly colored clothes? Did they have lights? How fast were they going? These subversive tactics successfully undermined the fact that Wolf made an illegal left turn by failing to yield to oncoming traffic, and had he not made that turn, Billings and Lambert would still be alive; a fact that Mr. Wolf admitted to during his testimony in the trial.”
     Wolf, his three landscaping companies and their respective insurance providers are all named as defendants to the civil lawsuit.
     They cyclists and their families are alleging negligence, loss of consortium and underinsured motorist benefits. They seek punitive damages.
     John O’Neil with the firm Elk & Elk in Mayfield Heights represents the Lambert estate.
     Cincinnati-based attorney Steven Magas represents the Billings estate.
     Christian Patno, of McCarthy, Lebit, Crystal & Liffman, represents Hilston.
     Kenneth Knabe of Brown & Szaller in Lakewood represents Kotich and his wife.
     Lakewood-based attorney Stephen Keefe Jr. represents Kincaid and his wife.

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