Pennsylvania Fire Company and Driver Sued for Apparatus Accident

A volunteer firefighter and his fire company have been sued over a vehicle accident last summer that severely injured an 8 year old boy.

Timothy and Jennifer Kolodychak filed suit last week in Westmoreland County Common Pleas Court against Rostraver Township, Rostraver Central Volunteer Fire Department, and Assistant Chief Justin Shawley alleging negligence.

Eight-year-old Logan Kolodychak suffered traumatic brain and facial injuries hat required reconstructive surgery and left him permanently scarred. His mother Jennifer, who was driving at the time, was also injured in the crash. Logan’s 11 year old sister was also in the vehicle and is alleged to have been traumatized but was physically uninjured.

The accident occurred on July 4, 2012 as Chief Shawley was driving a ladder truck on a run. The firefighters on board stated their emergency lights and siren were activated. According to police reports, the ladder approached the intersection where the accident occurred cautiously due to a red traffic light. When traffic was stopped Chief Shawley proceeded slowly through the intersection and was halfway through when the Kolodychak’s vehicle collided with the ladder.

The Kolodychak’s suit claims that Chief Shawley was driving at an unsafe speed, failed to maintain proper lookout, and failed to properly control the vehicle. They also allege the ladder was not responding to a fire or emergency at the time, and failed to use audible warning devices.

Neither driver was cited by police for the accident.

More on the accident.

More on the suit.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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