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Survivors of Laughlintown fatal crash file suit

Paul Peirce

A second lawsuit seeking unspecified damages has been filed against a man accused of driving drunk in Laughlintown and striking two carloads of Somerset County teenagers, killing one boy.

Two passengers injured in the March 28, 2009, crash, Taylor Awtey, now 17, of Jenners, and Andrew Darr, 18, of Stoystown, filed the lawsuit against Brandon G. Behie, 24, of New Florence, and two taverns that allegedly served alcohol to Behie, Bull's Tavern and Ligonier Beach Restaurant and Lounge.

Killed in the crash was 15-year-old John Blough, of Hollsopple, a freshman at North Star High School. The teenagers were returning home from a Britney Spears concert in Pittsburgh when the crash occurred in the eastbound lanes of Route 30.

Behie, formerly of Laughlintown, is awaiting trial in Westmoreland Common Pleas Court on charges of criminal homicide while driving under the influence, aggravated assault while driving under the influence, multiple counts of reckless endangerment and several other traffic citations.

Blough's parents, Martin and Beverly Blough, filed a similar lawsuit in December.

John Blough and Awtey were rear-seat passengers in a Chevrolet Lumina driven by Carley Tomko, 18, of Hooversville, according to the lawsuit. Behie's pickup truck struck Tomko's vehicle and a vehicle driven by Rebecca Weimer, 48, of Boswell, about 1:40 a.m. March 28 on Route 30 in Laughlintown, Ligonier Township, police said. Darr was a passenger in Weimer's car, according to the suit.

Awtey and Darr were seriously injured, the suit said, and both have suffered "emotional and psychological trauma necessitating psychological treatment."

Tomko and Weimer had stopped their vehicles at a temporary red light, which had been erected for a bridge project, when Behie's Chevrolet Silverado struck them from behind, police said.

Behie's truck was traveling 32 mph in an area posted for 20 mph, Ligonier Township police said in a probable cause affidavit.

The civil lawsuit alleges that Bull's Tavern and Ligonier Beach served Behie, even though he was visibly intoxicated, before the accident. The business operators should have stopped the intoxicated Behie from leaving their businesses, it claims.

Police said Behie's blood-alcohol content was 0.19 percent. A driver is considered intoxicated in Pennsylvania at 0.08 percent.

Officials at Bull's and Ligonier Beach did not respond to calls seeking comment.

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