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Motorcyclist's Family Suing Freeholder Director Over Fatal Accident

The parents of William Kolb are seeking unspecified damages against John P. Kelly in the May 2012 accident

The parents of a motorcyclist who was killed in a May 2012 collision with a sports utility vehicle in Eagleswood have filed suit against Freeholder Director John P. Kelly, the driver of that SUV.

Richard and Linda Kolb of Barnegat filed a wrongful death lawsuit in state Superior Court in Ocean County in September, alleging that Kelly was negligent in his driving in the accident, which killed William D. Kolb. 

Kolb, 24, of Barnegat was southbound on Route 9 on his black 2011 Harley Davidson about 6:35 p.m. on May 18 when, according to reports at that time from the State Police, he attempted to pass a vehicle in front of him and collided with the right fender of Kelly's 2005 Chrysler Pacifica. Kelly had been northbound on Route 9 and was attempting to turn left into the parking lot of West Creek Deli, according to those reports.

Kolb was thrown from the motorcycle and died at the scene, police said.

Blood tests conducted on Kelly for drugs and alcohol came back negative, and no charges were filed against Kelly, police said.

In the lawsuit, the Kolb family alleges Kelly is at fault for not properly checking to make sure there was no oncoming traffic before making his left turn into the deli, which Ronald Prusek, the Kolbs' attorney, said was actually the freeholder's deli, Kelly's Deli & General Store on Route 9 in West Creek.

"The law says you have to be reasonably sure of being able to complete a turn safely," Prusek said by phone. "(Kelly) misjudged his ability to do that."

Kelly, reached by phone on Friday, would not comment.

"I have attorneys working on the case, and they have advised me not to comment," Kelly said.

The case was transferred to Superior Court in Monmouth County due to the fact that Kelly is both a freeholder and the freeholder board's liaison to the Ocean County courts.

In court papers filed so far by Kelly's attorney, Mary E. McLaughlin of Morganville, Kelly denies the allegation that his driving was negligent and says  Kolb's actions contributed to his death, though they do not specify what those actions might be.

"I'm very sorry that a young man lost his life," Kelly said at the time. "That's all I have to say right now. I'm physically fine. It's traumatic."

Kolb's family said in news reports he had been planning to open an auto repair business in the weeks before the accident.  He was described as fun-loving by friends.

VoiceofReason January 25, 2013 at 06:45 PM
I don't know anyone involved. No grudge, but it just seems like any chance people can get money out of a bad situation, they do. If the emergency response people who were at the scene at the time of the accident, determined it was in fact an accident and neither party were to blame, then when try to sue and 1) Tell the emergency responders that they are wrong and 2) open old wounds on a closed subject. An accident is an accident and sometimes the results are not good. Unfortunately riding a motorcycle is a risky things in the first place - mix that with a collision into a SUV and it more than likely won't turn out well. The situation sucks, but it shouldn't be a money maker. no anger - just hate how people use every single stretch they can to get "paid"
Ken January 25, 2013 at 09:52 PM
Wow you really are bitter. I know money could never replace a human, but everyone needs to grieve in their own way, plus maybe they figure they can get more answers if this goes to court. I may be wrong but I can not picture an parent thinking any amount of money can replace a son or daughter
VoiceofReason January 28, 2013 at 01:33 PM
You must be a relative of someone on the side trying to collect.
Ken January 28, 2013 at 11:17 PM
I do not know any of the parties persoanlly, but I have a feeling you are related to Kelly with all that you have written
VoiceofReason January 31, 2013 at 03:41 PM
Kelly who!? I don't know any of them. Get a life. Jeez


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