Home Vehicle Accidents Bellefonte family wins $2.5 million from lawsuit, asks judge for additional $255,000

Bellefonte family wins $2.5 million from lawsuit, asks judge for additional $255,000

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The widow of a Bellefonte man killed more than three years ago in a State College-area crash won nearly $2.5 million in February from a lawsuit she filed against the driver who caused the head-on crash.

Cara Bloom then asked Centre County Judge Brian Marshall on Monday for an additional $255,000 because of delays in the suit, which was filed in fall 2018.

The loss of her husband and wading through years worth of litigation was “almost more than most people could bear,” attorney Clifford Rieders said Monday.

“The evidence that was submitted in this case showed a great tragedy to this family by an extremely irresponsible young driver that resulted in the loss of a quality human being, a tremendous asset to this community — which was personally witnessed by his young son,” Rieders said. “The verdict was absolutely appropriate to the loss.”

Robert Bloom, 47, was driving his teenage son in September 2018 to St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy. Nailah Oliver, now 23, was heading toward Penn State’s flagship campus for class.

She lost control of a 2001 Chevrolet Malibu during rush hour along the Mount Nittany Expressway. The major highway was wet when she crossed into oncoming eastbound traffic and slammed into Bloom’s 2016 Ford Focus.

Oliver estimated her speed at no more than 65 mph in three interviews with State College police. A witness estimated Oliver was driving about 70 mph, while a state police investigator said Oliver was driving about 84 mph five seconds before the crash. The speed limit is 55 mph.

Oliver was acquitted after a three-day trial in June of the most serious charges against her, including one felony count of homicide by vehicle. Centre County Judge Jonathan Grine found her guilty of four summary traffic violations.

Oliver did not hire an attorney to defend against the lawsuit.

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A crash on U.S. Route 322 eastbound near the State College exit on Sept. 12 led to the death of a Bellefonte man. A Boalsburg woman was charged Wednesday with a third-degree felony count of homicide by vehicle. Centre Daily Times, file

Bret Pallotto primarily reports on courts and crime for the Centre Daily Times. He was raised in Mifflin County and graduated from Lock Haven University.

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