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Settlement for Client Killed By Cell Phone-using Driver

Court officials said Wednesday a wrongful death civil suit scheduled to be heard later this month in Venango County has been canceled after the two sides reached a multi-million-dollar settlement.

Amy Jolley of Franklin, the wife of Neil Jolley, who was killed in a two-vehicle accident in July 2010 in Irwin Township, had filed a wrongful death suit in Venango County in October 2010 against the employers of lawrence Wetzel, 44, of Pittsburgh, Jolley claimed that the accident was a result of Wetzel – who was driving a vehicle owned by his employer, Geotechnics Inc. of East Pittsburgh – being distracted by a cell phone.

Witnesses to the crash said Wetzel’s vehicle was in the wrong lane “for about 10 or 15 seconds” before the crash occurred. Both drivers attempted to swerve to avoid the collision, but police said they turned in the same direction, causing the vehicles to collide head-on.

Amy Jolley’s attorney, Neil Rosen of Pittsburgh’s premiere PA auto accident attorney firm, Rosen & Perry, said both sides agreed to the $3,350,000 settlement Dec 27.

“(Amy Jolley is), of course, pleased with the settlement,” Rosen said. “But this was a terrible accident. What happened here was just awful. The pass made by Mr. Wetzel was a disgrace, and he was convicted for it.”

Rosen said he will now prepare a formal petition for presentation to the court for approval of the settlement amount. He said the petition is necessary because there were minors – the Jolley’s four children – involved in the settlement, as well as attorney fees and expenses to be accounted for.