Family Files Civil Lawsuit in Pelotonia Fatality

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The family of the bicyclist killed in this past summer’s Pelotonia Tour for Cancer Research is hoping the legal action they have taken will raise awareness of the need for everyone to carry Uninsured Motorist’s insurance.

Maybe if one person hears our story and they change their insurance because of it at least we've done something good. Patti Byerly, Victim's Twin Sister

The family of Michelle Kazlausky, the 57-year old bicyclist fatally hit by a pickup truck while riding in the Pelotnia Tour for Cancer on August 21, 2010, has filed a civil lawsuit (case number: 11cv0021) in the Hocking County Court of Common Pleas against the truck driver who fatally struck her and his brother, the owner of the vehicle. Kazlasuky was struck and killed by the pick up truck that Ervin Blackston was driving at the intersection of Rts. 180 and 374 in Hocking Country. Authorities say the morning of the accident Blackston had repaired part of the trucks brake system. But when a state trooper directing traffic at the intersection of the accident motioned for Blackston to stop, a break line he had not repaired failed. Blackston has pleaded not guilty to vehicular manslaughter and an equipment violation.

According to the official accident report, neither Blackston had liability insurance at the time of the accident. Kazlausky however had purchased uninsured motorists through her own auto insurance policy. The policy provided her protection even though she was on her bicycle and not driving her car. According to the Kazlausky family’s attorney, Mark Kitrick of the law firm Kitrick, Lewis & Harris, Co., L.P.A . of Columbus, Ohio the suit against Blackston and his brother Earl is intended to raise awareness of the need for everyone to carry uninsured motorists insurance and under insured motorists insurance.

“We filed suit because people everywhere need to understand that they not only should have liability coverage, but that they must also buy uninsured and under insured motorist coverage.” Kitrick explains. “This coverage travels around with people like their wallets or their pocketbooks. It protects them wherever they go, whether they are walking on the sidewalk, riding their bicycles, in a taxicab, in a bus, or in another car that does not have insurance. It is even more important today in a bad economy when fewer drivers have adequate liability coverage if they have it at all. So, when innocent people who have bought this insurance are hurt or killed by the careless act of another, as was the case here, they are better protected.”

Michelle Kazlausky’s twin sister, Patti Byerly, hopes the suit will serve as a reminder that driving without insurance is illegal. In addition, she wants it to raise awareness of the issue. “The last few months have been a nightmare that no one else should have to go through. Maybe if one person hears our story, and they change their insurance because of it, at least we’ve done something good”

The Personal Injury and Consumer Protection Law offices of Kitrick, Lewis, & Harris Co., L.P.A., is a nationally recognized law firm whose trial attorneys have more than sixty combined years of litigation experience. The firm’s attorneys handle all types of injury and consumer litigation cases, including motor vehicle crashes, product liability claims and consumer class actions.


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Marcy Fleisher
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