Skip to main content

Township and its police chief being sued for 2011 crash

09/10/2013 08:10PM, Published by ACL, Categories: In Print, News


Kennett Township Police Chief Albert McCarthy and the Kennett Township are the subjects of a lawsuit, stemming from an Oct. 2011 crash involving a police vehicle driven by McCarthy.



By Richard L. Gaw

Staff Writer

 

Hockessin residents Paula A. Sharpe and George A. Pigford have filed a personal injury lawsuit against Kennett Township and its Police Chief Albert McCarthy, stemming from an Oct. 4, 2011 rear-end collision between Sharpe's vehicle - a 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee -- and the Kennett Township Police car driven by McCarthy, on Creek Road, just south of McFarlan Road. 

The lawsuit, filed by Kennett Square attorney George S. Donze on Sept. 4, alleges negligence and carelessness on the part of McCarthy that led to Sharpe receiving serious personal injuries in the crash, which include acute post-traumatic lumbar spine sprain, as well as other medical problems resulting from the collision. Pigford, Sharpe's husband, is alleging a loss of consortium as a result of his wife's injuries. Together, Sharpe and Pigford are seeking a sum in excess of $50,000.

According to Donze, the lawsuit was filed after settlement talks between the parties failed. He said that his firm has been submitting the medical records from Ms. Sharpe on behalf of her insurance company to the insurance carrier for the township for the past two years, and at no time during that period did the township make a settlement offer in order to avoid suit.

"The statute of limitations was about to expire, and we felt compelled to file the suit," Donze said. "Ms. Sharpe's insurance company has the right to recoup the funds that they have paid out."

Court rules established by Chester County require a suit to place a $50,000 minimum sum in its wording -- a general line of demarcation, Donze said -- but it is anticipated that Sharpe and Pigford are seeking damages well in excess of $50,000.

In Count 1 of the lawsuit, Paula A. Sharpe v. Albert McCarthy, the damages sustained by Sharpe were caused by McCarthy's "negligence and carelessness," which consisted of failing to have his vehicle under proper and adequate control; operating his vehicle at a high, excessive rate of speed, and without keeping a proper look out for road and traffic conditions; operating his vehicle without regard for the right, safety and position of Sharpe's vehicle; failing to sound his horn or give adequate warning of the approach of his vehicle; operating a motor vehicle without full-knowledge of a pre-existing medical condition that could affect his ability to safely operate it; as well as other points of negligence.

In Count II of the lawsuit, Paula A. Sharpe v. Kennett Township, the plaintiff accused the township of allowing McCarthy to operate a motor vehicle when it knew "or in the exercise of reasonable diligence," it should have known of McCarthy's pre-existing medical condition.

In Count III of the lawsuit, Pigford vs. All Defendants, Pigford claimed that as a result of Sharpe's injuries, he has been denied the society, care, companionship, services and consortium of Sharpe. 

Saying that he was upset that "this happened to the township," McCarthy addressed a group of 50 local citizens at a township board of supervisors meeting two weeks after the incident. There, he carefully explained the course of the accident, including his admission that he had suffered a brief blackout due to a medical condition, caused by what his neurosurgeon diagnosed as an "absence seizure" which, according to scientific description, is categorized by brief (usually less than 20 seconds) generalized epileptic seizures that occur suddenly and impair consciousness.

That morning, McCarthy said that he left the Township building in a Kennett Township Police patrol car, a 2008 Ford Crown Victoria, after a meeting on his way home to retrieve documents. When he approached Mcfarlan Road at about 12:30 p.m., traveling southbound, he said he noticed Sharpe's Jeep pass in front of his vehicle. "I followed it, noting that it had Delaware tags, and that's the last thing I remember," McCarthy said. "I remember driving over Marshall's Bridge on my way home, a distance of two miles."

When he arrived at home, McCarthy said that he noticed his portable radio was not working, and placed it on the windowsill in his kitchen in order to revive reception. He then looked out of the window and noticed that his police vehicle had been damaged. While he was examining his car, McCarthy said he received a phone call from the Chester County Police Dispatch.

"They asked me if I was all right," McCarthy told the audience. "He (The officer) then said there was an accident on Creek Road that involved a police car. I'm looking down (at the police vehicle) and I really can't understand what happened, so I called the state police and told him that I need to investigate this." 

McCarthy said that when he arrived back at the crash scene, he saw members of the state police, as well as representatives from the Kennett and East Marlborough Township police and the Kennett Fire Company. "I was now very confused," McCarthy said. "When I asked a police chief what had happened, he said that I had hit the black SUV jeep." McCarthy complied with the subsequent police investigation, and no charges against him were filed.

According to McCarthy, he had to notify the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) about the incident, who told him that they would suspend his license for up to six months, as well as monitor his progress for the next three to six months. McCarthy was placed on administrative leave from his position, and confined to desk duty which includes enforcing local laws such as nuisance, international housing and event ordinances.

McCarthy told the audience he traced the cause of the car accident to August 2008, when he severely damaged his head when constructing a food bank location in Kennett Square. "I slammed my head into a steel i-beam, then went home and took a few aspirin," McCarthy said. "The following night, 27 hours after the incident, I had some kind of an attack in my sleep. I had no idea what was going on there, either, and I was told that they could not wake me up."

After the 2008 accident, McCarthy underwent a series of several tests, which at first he said revealed little in the way of damage but later detected the presence of a mark on the brain. During a subsequent 24-hour examination at the Christiana Hospital, McCarthy said a neurosurgeon prescribed medication for him, and continued to monitor the effects of the drug for the next six months.

"This is indicated by not having any perception of what's going on around you, and you can't respond," McCarthy said. "That's probably what happened here because I don't have any recollection of passing out."

The township has enlisted the West Chester law firm of Gawthrop, Greenwood and Adams as its legal counsel. Robert Adams of the firm serves as the township's solicitor. Township Manager Lisa Moore said that she is waiting for legal counsel before commenting on the lawsuit. Chief McCarthy could not be reached for comment. Adams also denied comment on the litigation.

The lawsuit stated that it demands a jury trial.  The date of the trial has not yet been determined; under Chester County Court procedures, a case is automatically certified as ready for trial one year after it is filed. The exact date of the hearing will be up to the discretion of the judge assigned to the case.  


Like what you're reading? Subscribe to Chester County's free newsletter to catch every headline



kennett township lawsuit kennett township police


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Sunny Container Gardens

    05/04/2016
    10:30AM — 12:30PM

    Add a bit of summertime flair to your garden with a colorful container of sun-loving perennials. ...


  • Pajama Storytime

    05/04/2016
    06:30PM — 07:30PM

    Wednesdays at 6:30 PM - Join us for an evening of stories, songs, crafts, and fun to end your day...


  • Pro-Act's Family Education Program

    05/04/2016
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    When someone is addicted to drugs & alcohol, the diease affects the entire family. Each month PR...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Right Tool, Right Place

    05/05/2016
    10:00AM — 11:30AM

    Gardening is a wonderful activity for your health and well-being; but like any activity, there ar...


  • What will I See on the Sun Today?

    05/05/2016
    03:00PM — 05:00PM

    It's all about LIGHT. Safely observe the sun through special solar glasses, telescopes in three d...


  • Clutterers Anonymous

    05/05/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Clutterers Anonymous℠ (CLA℠) is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strengt...


  • Lessons from the Winemaker

    05/05/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    The Lessons from the Winemaker series will begin in May and continue until December. One Thursday...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Debtors Anonymous

    05/09/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    In D.A., our purpose is threefold: to stop incurring unsecured debt, to share our experience wit...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Toy Trains Hit the Rails

    05/03/2016
    07:00PM — 08:00PM

    The “electric train” group will present a history of toy trains, starting with 19th-century floor...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Sunny Container Gardens

    05/04/2016
    10:30AM — 12:30PM

    Add a bit of summertime flair to your garden with a colorful container of sun-loving perennials. ...


  • Pajama Storytime

    05/04/2016
    06:30PM — 07:30PM

    Wednesdays at 6:30 PM - Join us for an evening of stories, songs, crafts, and fun to end your day...


  • Pro-Act's Family Education Program

    05/04/2016
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    When someone is addicted to drugs & alcohol, the diease affects the entire family. Each month PR...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Right Tool, Right Place

    05/05/2016
    10:00AM — 11:30AM

    Gardening is a wonderful activity for your health and well-being; but like any activity, there ar...


  • What will I See on the Sun Today?

    05/05/2016
    03:00PM — 05:00PM

    It's all about LIGHT. Safely observe the sun through special solar glasses, telescopes in three d...


  • Clutterers Anonymous

    05/05/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Clutterers Anonymous℠ (CLA℠) is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strengt...


  • Lessons from the Winemaker

    05/05/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    The Lessons from the Winemaker series will begin in May and continue until December. One Thursday...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • National Public Gardens Day

    05/06/2016
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Celebrate America's public gardens with a complimentary visit to Mt. Cuba Center! Relax in our ga...


  • National Public Gardens Day

    05/06/2016
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Celebrate America's public gardens with a complimentary visit to Mt. Cuba Center! Relax in our ga...


  • Join the fun at a Quarter Auction by Friends for Rescue & Pet Care in Newark on Friday May 6, 201...


  • Charlie Zahm is back presenting an evening of Civil War era music and history---this time it's Th...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Wildflower Walk

    05/07/2016
    09:00AM — 11:00AM

    With Janet Ebert, Botanist Saturday, May 7th from 9:00AM-11:00AM Location: Bucktoe Creek Preser...


  • Aston E-Waste & Data Destruction Event

    05/07/2016
    09:00AM — 01:00PM

    ELECTRONIC ITEMS ACCEPTED— Almost anything with a plug! Hard drive & cell phone destruction $10...


  • Church Yard Sale

    05/07/2016
    09:00AM — 02:00PM

    As part of the East Goshen Township Community Day program, there will be a yard sale at UCCEG, 1...


  • Develop a personal photographic style and bring your technical and artistic skills to a new level...


  • Famous Chicken BBBQ

    05/07/2016
    01:30PM — 04:30PM

    CHICKEN BBQ, Saturday, May 7, 1:30-4:30 p.m., LANDENBERG CHURCH at 205 Landenberg Road, Landenbe...


  • Banding Together for Dravet

    05/07/2016
    07:00PM — 09:15PM

    Join us at the first ever Banding Together for Dravet on Saturday, May 7, 2016. Proceeds benef...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • 2016 Kacie's Cause MOTHER'S DAY WALK

    05/08/2016
    09:00AM — 12:00PM

    We hope you will join us for the Third Annual Mother's Day Walk. This is a FAMILY EVENT (rain or ...


  • 2016 Kacie's Cause MOTHER'S DAY WALK

    05/08/2016
    09:00AM — 12:00PM

    We hope you will join us for the Third Annual Mother's Day Walk. This is a FAMILY EVENT (rain or ...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Debtors Anonymous

    05/09/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    In D.A., our purpose is threefold: to stop incurring unsecured debt, to share our experience wit...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Tail Waggin' Tutors

    05/10/2016
    04:30PM — 05:30PM

    Practice reading to a certified therapy dog. This relaxed animal friendly atmosphere allows stud...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Pilates Class: Get in Shape for Summer!

    05/11/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Sign up for FREE Pilates Class, back by popular demand! It's a 6 week session- attend them all or...


  • Pajama Storytime

    05/11/2016
    06:30PM — 07:30PM

    Wednesdays at 6:30 PM - Join us for an evening of stories, songs, crafts, and fun to end your day...


  • Pro-Act's Family Education Program

    05/11/2016
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    When someone is addicted to drugs & alcohol, the diease affects the entire family. Each month PR...


  • The Garden After Dark

    05/11/2016
    07:30PM — 09:30PM

    From Perseus and Hercules to Pegasus and Leo, the spring sky abounds with mesmerizing constellati...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Growing Native Orchids

    05/12/2016
    10:00AM — 01:00PM

    Whether you are a rank beginner or a master gardener, hardy native orchids can grow and thrive in...


  • Meditation

    05/12/2016
    05:30PM — 06:30PM

    Increased concentration, decreased anxiety, and a general feeling of well-being can be achieved t...


  • Meditation

    05/12/2016
    05:30PM — 06:30PM

    Increased concentration, decreased anxiety, and a general feeling of well-being can be achieved t...


  • Clutterers Anonymous

    05/12/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Clutterers Anonymous℠ (CLA℠) is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strengt...


  • Scattered throughout the nearby Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area are the remains of on...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Spring Art-In

    05/13/2016
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Join us for a day of art and let your creativity bloom while you draw, paint, or photograph Mt. C...


  • Spring Art-In

    05/13/2016
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Join us for a day of art and let your creativity bloom while you draw, paint, or photograph Mt. C...


  • Color In Your Bedroom

    05/13/2016
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    Come and discover how to balance your physical health and intimate relationships with the color a...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • WHITE CANE DAY

    05/14/2016
    09:00AM — 02:00PM

    LIONS ON THE LOOSE IN OXFORD THE OXFORD LIONS CLUB MEMBERS WILL BE ON 3RD STREET, REDNERS MA...


  • Elemental Ayurvedic Readings

    05/14/2016
    10:00AM — 12:00PM

    The 2 hour consultation with Sarah Tomlinson directs your awareness to your personal strengths an...


  • Stateline Loop Run for Conservation

    05/14/2016
    10:00AM — 02:00PM

    Join The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County (TLC) on Saturday, May 14th for the annual ...


  • Sustainable Landscape Techniques

    05/14/2016
    10:00AM — 02:00PM

    Make your landscape more ecologically sound by implementing a variety of sustainable gardening an...


  • The Copeland Legacy: Conserving Native Plants

    05/14/2016
    10:30AM — 12:30PM

    Join us for Community Read, a multi-institutional program designed to inspire reading, conversati...


  • Color For Stress Reduction

    05/14/2016
    03:00PM — 06:00PM

    In this unique three-hour workshop you will discover how the activity of Coloring Yantras brings ...


  • Celebrate the power of four paws with CPL! This canine chic celebration is filled with opportunit...


  • Concordia Voices Presents: New Heaven

    05/14/2016
    07:30PM — 09:00PM

    Concordia Choral Arts’ 2015-2016 Performance Year, titled THE NEW WORLD continues with our spring...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Tail Waggin' Tutors

    05/15/2016
    01:00PM — 02:00PM

    Practice reading to a certified therapy dog. This relaxed animal friendly atmosphere allows stud...


  • Taste Kennett Food Tours

    05/15/2016
    01:00PM — 04:00PM

    Taste Kennett Food Tours, creators of memorable, unique and fun food experiences, offer three-hou...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Don't miss this opportunity to visit and photograph four magnificent mid-Atlantic gardens at the ...


  • Photographing Gardens of the Brandywine Valley

    05/16/2016
    06:00AM — 04:30PM

    Don't miss this opportunity to visit and photograph four magnificent mid-Atlantic gardens at the ...


  • Debtors Anonymous

    05/16/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    In D.A., our purpose is threefold: to stop incurring unsecured debt, to share our experience wit...


  • Pilates Class: Get in Shape for Summer!

    05/16/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Sign up for FREE Pilates Class, back by popular demand! It's a 6 week session- attend them all or...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Carnival at St. Peter Parish in West Brandywine

    05/18/2016
    03:00PM — 10:00PM

    St. Peter Parish in West Brandywine, PA (Chester County) Wed. May 18-Sat. May 21. Event runs 5-1...


  • Pajama Storytime

    05/18/2016
    06:30PM — 07:30PM

    Wednesdays at 6:30 PM - Join us for an evening of stories, songs, crafts, and fun to end your day...


  • Pro-Act's Family Education Program

    05/18/2016
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    When someone is addicted to drugs & alcohol, the diease affects the entire family. Each month PR...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • The Allure of Native Azaleas

    05/19/2016
    10:00AM — 11:30AM

    Are you fascinated by native azaleas but aren't sure how to grow them? Steven Kristoph examines s...


  • Clutterers Anonymous

    05/19/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Clutterers Anonymous℠ (CLA℠) is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strengt...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Treehouse Workshop

    05/21/2016
    08:00AM

    Learn how to build a treehouse in the safest and most tree friendly way. Instructors include carp...


  • Grains of the World Dinner

    05/21/2016
    06:00PM — 08:00PM

    Newlin Grist Mill director Tony Shahan will host a special dining event featuring grains from acr...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Taste Kennett Food Tours

    05/22/2016
    01:00PM — 04:00PM

    Taste Kennett Food Tours, creators of memorable, unique and fun food experiences, offer three-hou...


  • Quarter Auction

    05/22/2016
    01:00PM — 05:00PM

    Quarter Auction. There will also be Special Raffle Baskets and a 50/50. Visit www.curecancertoday...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Debtors Anonymous

    05/23/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    In D.A., our purpose is threefold: to stop incurring unsecured debt, to share our experience wit...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Tail Waggin' Tutors

    05/24/2016
    04:30PM — 05:30PM

    Practice reading to a certified therapy dog. This relaxed animal friendly atmosphere allows stud...


Chester County High School Sports