October 2, 2014

Elyria
Mostly sunny
75°F
test

Additional crash victims sue driver

ELYRIA — Two passengers who were injured in the 2010 car crash that killed Andrew “A.J.” Vincent have sued the drunken driver responsible.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday on behalf of Patrick DeSouza and Cody Toboz, largely mirrors a similar lawsuit filed last week by Vincent’s mother against Mark Ralich, now serving a seven-year prison term his mother, Mary Lou Ralich, who owned the car he was driving, and Wolfey’s Bistro and Chris’s Place, where he was allegedly drinking.

But the new lawsuit also names Vincent and his mother, Cynthia Jean Vincent, as defendants.

Mark Petroff, the attorney representing DeSouza and Toboz, said the Vincents had to be named as defendants to protect his clients’ claims under underinsured motorist coverage laws.

“We brought the action for the purpose of protecting the interests of my plaintiffs,” he said.

The lawsuit claims Ralich and Vincent were both negligent on Nov. 27, 2010, when Ralich’s Chevy Malibu slammed into Vincent’s Ford Focus at the intersection of Brandston Avenue and Poplar Street. The crash was a short distance from Vincent’s house and his family came outside to try to help the injured.

Ralich had a blood-alcohol level of 0.23, nearly three times the legal driving limit of 0.08, at the time of the crash, and had marijuana and cocaine in his system. The tests didn’t determine how long before the crash he had consumed the drugs or how long before the crash Vincent had consumed the marijuana that was found in his system.

Petroff said the legal process will determine exactly who was civilly at fault for the crash.

Investigators determined that Ralich had been traveling at speeds up to 93 mph before the crash and had been trying to avoid an Elyria police car he’d seen.

The lawsuit said both De-Souza and Toboz sustained mental and physical injuries as a result of the crash and both dropped out of college. De-Souza said during Ralich’s sentencing hearing last week that it took months following the crash before he was able to walk again.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.