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Mother of motorcyclist killed in crash sues for $3M

Published: Fri, July 3, 2009 @ 12:06 a.m.

The suit says the deceased’s motorcycle helmet was flawed.

By Peter H. Milliken

YOUNGSTOWN — The mother of a motorcyclist who was killed two years ago in a collision with another motorcyclist, who also died in the crash, has filed a $3 million wrongful-death lawsuit.

Wanda L. Earles, of Queens Lane, Canfield, mother of the late Brent R. Earles, filed suit in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court against the estate of the other dead motorcyclist, an insurance company and the maker and seller of a helmet alleged to be defective that was worn by her son.

Named as defendants are HJC America Inc. of Cerritos, Calif., which the suit said made the helmet Earles wore when the collision occurred; Andrews Cycles Inc. of Salem, which the suit said sold Earles the helmet; the estate of the late Mathew Tynal, who the suit said negligently caused the fatal collision; and Allstate Insurance Co. of Northbrook, Ill., which the suit said unjustly declined to pay an insurance claim made by Earles’ estate.

The suit also lists 10 unidentified John Doe defendants it alleges were negligent.

Upon impact, Earles’ helmet flew off his head, even though its chin strap had been secured, the suit said. Earles then suffered a fatal skull fracture after being ejected from his motorcycle, the suit said.

The collision, which killed Earles, 20, of Queens Lane, and Tynal, 19, of McCollum Road, Youngstown, occurred July 1, 2007, on Ohio Works Drive.

Tynal tried to turn left at Sinter Court and was broadsided by Earles, who tried to go around a third cyclist, police said. Both of the men who were killed rode speeding “crotch rockets” and wore helmets, police said.

The 90 mph impact sent Earles airborne and into a tree about 110 feet from the collision, witnesses said.

The crash occurred in the Ohio Works Industrial Park on a desolate stretch of winding concrete road on a Sunday, when businesses occupying the park were closed.

Phil Andrews, owner of Andrews Cycles, would not comment, other than to describe the collision that killed Earles and Tynal as “an unfortunate accident.”

Spokesmen for the other defendants could not be reached to comment.

The suit, filed by Atty. Jeffrey A. Kurz, demands a jury trial and is assigned to Judge Maureen A. Sweeney.


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