SNOW HILL – A Maryland State Police trooper seriously injured in an accident on Route 50 in August this week filed a lawsuit against the local woman driving the car that collided with him and her employer seeking $5 million in compensatory damages.
On Wednesday, MSP Trooper Louis Craig Suttka of the Berlin Barrack, through his attorney, filed a $5 million lawsuit against Susan Jenkins Leuthold of Berlin whose vehicle collided with him as he raced to respond to a reported crime in progress in August. The suit also names Leuthold’s employer, Weight Watchers of America North, based in Dover, as a defendant in the case, alleging the company is “vicariously liable because the defendant was acting within the scope of her employment.”
Shortly before 11 a.m. on Aug. 22, Suttka was driving east on Route 50 in his unmarked police cruiser when he received a communication from the dispatcher to respond to a reported domestic violence call. According to court documents, he activated his lights and siren, and as he approached the intersection of Route 50 and Jerry Mack Rd., Suttka observed both lanes blocked by traffic at the light.
Suttka then entered the dedicated right turn lane in an effort to by-pass the standing traffic and proceed through the intersection. At the same time, the defendant, Leuthold, was attempting to make a left turn from westbound Route 50 in order to travel south on Jerry Mack Rd. when she allegedly “pulled directly into the path of Suttka’s police cruiser and the two vehicles collided.
Suttka was transported to Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury via Maryland State Police helicopter, while Leuthold was transported to PRMC by Ocean City Emergency Services.
The civil suit filed on Wednesday alleges the defendant was negligent in that she “operated her vehicle in a careless, reckless and negligent manner.” The suit goes on to say Leuthold failed to keep a proper lookout, failed to see and hear what she should have seen and heard, and failed to yield the right-of-way to an emergency vehicle.
As a result, according to court documents, Suttka suffered serious, severe and painful injuries to his head, neck, body and limbs. The suit alleges Suttka has paid or will pay great sums of money for treatment and his injuries have caused him to be absent from his employment as a state trooper and he has not been able to resume his duties, resulting in lost wages.
The suit also states Suttka may require vocational training to pursue a different occupation. As a result, the civil suit seeks $5 million in compensatory damages “jointly and severally” against Leuthold and her employer.