The parents of a motorcyclist who was killed in a May 2012 collision with a sports utility vehicle in Eagleswood have filed suit against Freeholder Director John P. Kelly, the driver of that SUV.
Richard and Linda Kolb of Barnegat filed a wrongful death lawsuit in state Superior Court in Ocean County in September, alleging that Kelly was negligent in his driving in the accident, which killed William D. Kolb.
Kolb, 24, of Barnegat was southbound on Route 9 on his black 2011 Harley Davidson about 6:35 p.m. on May 18 when, according to reports at that time from the State Police, he attempted to pass a vehicle in front of him and collided with the right fender of Kelly's 2005 Chrysler Pacifica. Kelly had been northbound on Route 9 and was attempting to turn left into the parking lot of West Creek Deli, according to those reports.
Kolb was thrown from the motorcycle and died at the scene, police said.
Blood tests conducted on Kelly for drugs and alcohol came back negative, and no charges were filed against Kelly, police said.
In the lawsuit, the Kolb family alleges Kelly is at fault for not properly checking to make sure there was no oncoming traffic before making his left turn into the deli, which Ronald Prusek, the Kolbs' attorney, said was actually the freeholder's deli, Kelly's Deli & General Store on Route 9 in West Creek.
"The law says you have to be reasonably sure of being able to complete a turn safely," Prusek said by phone. "(Kelly) misjudged his ability to do that."
Kelly, reached by phone on Friday, would not comment.
"I have attorneys working on the case, and they have advised me not to comment," Kelly said.
The case was transferred to Superior Court in Monmouth County due to the fact that Kelly is both a freeholder and the freeholder board's liaison to the Ocean County courts.
In court papers filed so far by Kelly's attorney, Mary E. McLaughlin of Morganville, Kelly denies the allegation that his driving was negligent and says Kolb's actions contributed to his death, though they do not specify what those actions might be.
"I'm very sorry that a young man lost his life," Kelly said at the time. "That's all I have to say right now. I'm physically fine. It's traumatic."
Kolb's family said in news reports he had been planning to open an auto repair business in the weeks before the accident. He was described as fun-loving by friends.