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Mom sues over girl’s death



Published: Thu, November 15, 2007 @ 2:00 a.m.

Police are still waiting for toxicology tests.

By LAURE CIOFFI

VINDICATOR PENNSYLVANIA BUREAU

NEW CASTLE, Pa. — The mother of a New Castle High School sophomore, who may have overdosed on prescription medication while in school, has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the classmate who is alleged to have given the girl the drugs.

Veronica Million-Passerrello, as administratrix of the estate of her daughter, Erica Jo Million, filed the lawsuit Tuesday in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court.

Million-Passerrello’s lawsuit asks for a jury trial and damages in excess of $50,000. The lawsuit names her daughter’s classmate, Josh Stewart, and the boy’s legal guardian and father, Jason A. Stewart, as defendants.

The two-count lawsuit seeks money for wrongful as well as money damages for the girl’s suffering and untimely death.

Erica Jo, 16, was found unconscious during one of her classes Feb. 27 at New Castle Senior-Junior High School.

She was taken to Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital, where she died March 4. Police believe she died of an overdose of prescription pain medication, oxyCodone, but are still waiting for toxicology results.

The lawsuit filed by the girl’s mother contends that her classmate “sold and delivered” Erica Jo an undetermined quantity of the prescription narcotic.

The lawsuit contends that Erica Jo’s death was caused as a result of “negligent, careless and/or reckless conduct of the minor-defendant.”

The boy was arrested shortly after the Erica Jo’s death and charged as a juvenile with possession of a controlled substance.

Authorities have said that additional charges against the juvenile could be filed pending the outcome of toxicology tests.

On Wednesday, New Castle Police Chief Tom Sansone said that the investigation is still ongoing. “We hope to wrap it up soon,” he said.


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