Widow of motorcyclist killed in Boardman sues Mahoning County

Staff report


The widow of a motorcyclist who was fatally injured in a crash at South Avenue and McClurg Road has sued Mahoning County and its engineer’s office for more than $50,000. She says her husband died because low and large road signs blocked a turning minivan driver’s view of him.

Maureen A. Emmerling, of East Liverpool, whose husband, Robert, was critically injured March 21, 2012, and died 29 days later, filed the lawsuit Thursday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.

The suit alleges that dangerously large and low signs along South Avenue obstructed the view of the minivan driver, who had been eastbound on McClurg and was attempting to turn left onto South Avenue.

The minivan, which had stopped at the stop sign, collided with the motorcycle, which was southbound on South Avenue, ejecting the helmeted Emmerling head-first into the minivan and onto the pavement, the suit said.

The complaint alleges the county failed to relocate the signs as recommended by a 2010 traffic-safety study of that T-intersection, which the county commissioned.

The lawsuit said there were at least 62 motor-vehicle collisions at that Boardman intersection, resulting in numerous injuries and at least five fatalities, between 2005 and 2012, with most of them occurring because of signs obstructing motorists’ view.

County Prosecutor Paul J. Gains, who defends county agencies, and Kristin Barrett, a spokeswoman for the engineer’s office, declined to comment.

The lawsuit, which demands a jury trial, is assigned to Judge Maureen A. Sweeney.

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