Trucking firm settles fatal crash lawsuit

WARREN – A Brookfield trucking company that employed the driver who caused a chain-reaction crash in 2010 that killed three Marine recruits has settled a lawsuit over the matter for slightly less than $2 million, according to attorneys involved in the case.

Nick Strimbu Inc. reportedly used policy limits of $1 million from insurance coverage and agreed to make further payments to the estates of the three recruits and cover damages claimed by other motorists who were injured.

Several different suits were filed and then consolidated and assigned to Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge Andrew Logan.

The combined cases were successfully mediated by court Magistrate Anthony Cornicelli over a two-day period earlier this month.

Attorney Marty White, who represented the estates of two of the recruits, said the settlement in the wrongful death actions still must be approved by Trumbull County Probate Court. Attorney Tom Wilson defended the case.

Strimbu employed Donald P. Williams of Austintown who was listening to the heavy metal music of Rob Zombie in his semi truck when he plowed into the rear of the victims’ car and traveled another 580-feet before applying his brakes. The driver was charged with several counts of aggravated vehicular homicide and assault.

Williams, who was found to have anti-anxiety drugs in his system at the time, was sentenced to 16 years in prison last year.

Williams, the trucking company and Progressive Insurance were among the defendants originally named in the suits from 18 plaintiffs.

The March 31, 2010, crash on state Route 5 near the intersection of Burnett Road, claimed the lives of Michael T. Theodore Jr., 19, of Howland; Joshua A. Sherbourne, 21, of Southington; and Zachary Nolen, 19, of Newton Falls.

The three, along with another recruit and a recruiter, were headed to Cleveland to finalize their enlistment papers when the crash occurred in Leavittsburg. Nine people in seven vehicles, including a motorcycle, claimed injuries and damages. Some were dismissed from the suit before it was settled.

Other defendants who suffered injuries included Sgt. Charles Keene of Youngstown, who was driving the recruits to Cleveland, and a fourth recruit, Carl McDermott of Masury, who was seated in the front seat of the car.