AUBURN — The husband of a woman who was killed when she was hit by a car while walking to a driveway mailbox is suing the driver of the car.
Ronald S. Call of Greene filed a wrongful death civil suit last week in Androscoggin County Superior Court against Brandon Earl Pelletier, 19, of Turner.
Call's wife, Sharon, 65, was killed on July 24 when she was struck by the 1995 Chevrolet Camaro Pelletier was driving. She had been getting the mail for her 90-year-old mother, for whom she served as caretaker. According to a police accident report, illegal or unsafe speed was a primary contributing factor; a secondary factor was defective tire or tire failure.
The accident took place in the rain. Pelletier lost control of the car at about 9:45 a.m. on Route 4 before it skidded on wet pavement about 100 yards across the driveway where Call was retrieving her mother's mail. The car continued across a lawn then went down an embankment into a grassy field, the accident report said. Call's body wasn't recovered until relatives noticed she was missing. The force of the impact launched her body into tall grass where relatives found her about an hour later when they called police to report it.
The Calls were married 43 years, Ronald Call wrote in a sworn affidavit that accompanied the suit. He said his wife was in good health and happily married when she died.
Statistics show that Sharon Call would have been expected to have lived another 20 years, the suit said. Had she collected her Social Security all that time, it would have totaled $65,520 by the time she reached 85. Ronald Call's loss of care and companionship due to his wife's death is valued at a minimum of $250,000, the suit says. Punitive damages of $75,000 would be reasonable, the suit says. Available insurance to compensate for her death is $125,000 under Ronald Call's uninsured motor vehicle coverage, according to the suit.
A judge signed an order to attach $200,000 of Pelletier's bank assets after considering the likelihood that Call would prevail in his complaint. Pelletier was expected to have gotten $182,729.36 when he turned 18 years old, the result of a settlement from a fatal industrial accident involving his father when Pelletier was 11 years old. That money would make up a significant portion of the difference between the amount Call is claiming Pelletier owes him and the amount Call expects to collect from his insurance policy, the suit says.
Pelletier has not been charged in connection with the accident. A spokesman at the Androscoggin County Sheriff's Department said Wednesday a criminal investigation into the accident is not complete. District Attorney Norm Croteau said Wednesday his office hasn't received investigative materials, including an accident reconstruction report. A spokeswoman at the Maine Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said Call died of multiple blunt force trauma.
Pelletier has a lengthy history of driving offenses, including seven license suspensions since December 2006. He sustained minor injuries in the accident.