Jury awards $2.75M in fatal car crash


WARREN -- A Trumbull County Common Pleas jury has awarded $2.75 million to the family of a 17-year-old Middlefield girl who was killed in a car crash.
After deliberating 21/2 hours Thursday, the jury of five women and three men reached the verdict in the wrongful death case of Natalie Ruska.
Court officials said the defendant, Eric Westfall, has 30 days to appeal the ruling to the 11th District Court of Appeals. The jury began hearing the case Monday in the courtroom of Judge W. Wyatt McKay.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol said Ruska was driving to school around 7:18 a.m. March 11, 1999, when she was struck by a vehicle driven by Westfall at state Routes 534 and 87. She died of head injuries.
The Middlefield man was convicted of a misdemeanor count of vehicular homicide in Newton Falls Municipal Court two years ago. He was sentenced to seven days in jail and placed on two years' probation.

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