Family settles lawsuit over trucker's death

| 12/21/2001

Family members of a Pennsylvania truckdriver killed by the tire off another truck have agreed to a settlement of about $1.4 million from a trucker, tire distributor and trucking company they blamed for his death. Robert Varner, of Marysville, PA, was killed in July 1998 while driving his semi south on Interstate 81 near Staunton. An oncoming truck's right-rear trailer tire flew off, striking the driver's side compartment of Varner's cab and crushing him, state police have said. Varner's family sued Castlewood, VA-based Overland Transport Inc., driver Herring Lewis Fennell of Roanoke, VA, and White Tire Distributors, saying they were careless, reckless and negligent in their maintenance of the tire. The suit asked for at least $8 million. Roanoke Circuit Court Judge Clifford Weckstein approved the settlement last week. The family will reportedly receive more than $800,000, after lawyers' fees and other costs.