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January 17, 2013

New suit filed in Essex Avenue fatality

A lawyer representing the estate of Stephen Bennett — the rider killed when his motorcycle slammed into a package delivery truck crossing to the westbound lane of Essex Avenue from Fernwood Lake Avenue last May — has filed a lawsuit against the driver and insurance company of another truck that was in front of the cycle, and is alleged to have blocked the vision of both the truck driver and cyclist by illegally traveling in the breakdown lane.

The Massachusetts State Police collision reconstruction report of the incident indicates that Barbara Cox, who was driving a truck owned by Cox Co. Inc. was cited by Gloucester police for a “breakdown lane violation.”

Gloucester attorney Joseph Orlando, representing Bennett’s estate, contends that, by shifting from the eastbound general travel lane of Essex Avenue (Route 133), Cox impeded the vision of the UPS driver who exited Fernwood Lake Avenue onto the eastbound lane of Essex Avenue to turn left or west, and would not have moved ahead had he known that Bennett, riding his Harley Davidson at a legal speed behind the Coxco truck, was there.

Orlando also alleges that Bennett was prevented from seeing the UPS truck by the placement of the Coxco vehicle in the breakdown lane.

A report by the state police reconstruction team released by the office of Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett in December concluded that Bennett was solely responsible for the collision that killed him.

Orlando called that finding “truly absurd.”

”The rules of the road were ignored,” he added.

Representatives of Coxco, which is based on Fernwood Lake Avenue, and Arbella Insurance Co., which insured the vehicle cited by Orlando in his lawsuit, declined comment Wednesday. UPS and the Bennetts have reached a settlement that Orlando has described as “very generous.”

In a telephone interview Wednesday, Orlando said the suit is “about Stephen Bennett’s legacy to his children.

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