December 30. 2013 11:47PM By Roger DuPuis
WILKES-BARRE — A Lackawanna County man is seeking $100,000 plus interest and damages from a Nanticoke woman who was drunk and texting when she rear-ended his vehicle on the Cross Valley Expressway two years ago today, according to papers filed Monday in Luzerne County Court. Kevin Lepka, of 316 Railroad Ave., Scranton, is suing Michelle Marko of 331 Garfield St., Nanticoke, as well as her insurers, in connection with the Dec. 31, 2011, crash which left Lepka severely injured, according to his lawsuit. Marko was driving a 1995 Pontiac Grand Am with which she rear-ended a 1992 Jeep driven by Lepka shortly after 2 a.m. along the expressway in Plains Township, according to the lawsuit and a police affidavit filed in the case.
Plains Township Patrolman Michael Smith said Marko admitted that she had been texting at the time of the crash, according to an affidavit.
The officer said Marko, who had “glossy” eyes and smelled of alcohol, also admitted to him that she had consumed four alcoholic beverages that night. She then failed three field sobriety tests, Smith said in an affidavit.
Tests revealed Marko’s blood-alcohol content to be 0.164 percent, according to the affidavit. An adult driver in Pennsylvania is considered intoxicated with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent.
Court documents show that Marko was admitted to the Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition (ARD) program for six months in 2012. ARD is a special pre-trial probationary program for first-time, non-violent offenders. Length of an ARD program can be three-months to one-year with community service, small fines and restrictions on alcohol consumption.
Under that admission, Marko’s license was to be suspended for 60 days, and she was to pay a fine and do 15 hours of community service.
According to the lawsuit, Lepka suffered injuries to his head and spine, as well as neck and back pain and has undergone extensive medical treatment.
Lepka’s suit seeks a jury trial in the case, in which he is seeking $50,000 each on one count of negligence and one count of breach of contract — the latter stemming from an alleged failure by Marko’s insurer to “reasonably” investigate the case and offer prompt payment.
Lepka is represented by M. Lee Albright of The Pisanchyn Law Firm in Scranton.