$1M for Auto Accident

McKenzie v. Pereira: A Bayonne n an allegedly injured while a passenger in a van that was hit by a drunken driver will receive just over $I million in settlement of his suit On April 2, 2011, Kenneth McKenzie then 48, was riding in a van that was hit from behind by a car driven by defen- dant Eric Pereira, 21, of Jackson, said McKenzie’s attorney, Steven Haddad. Pereira had been working as an assistant for David Todd Photography of Marlboro at an event at the Rockleigh Country Club in Rockleigh, and had been served at least four cocktails before leav- ing. said Haddad, who handled the case with Nehal Modi, an associate in his Edison law office. McKenzie’s van was in the south- bound lanes of the Garden State Parkway when it was struck by Pereira’s. The van hit a guardrail, flipped over and skidded into the southbound express lanes, where it collided with another car. driven by Keith Wegle of Toms River, who also was injured. The van’s driver, Kevin Donnelly, 43, of Middletown, died in the crash and a third occupant of the van, Erin Small of Middetown, also was injured. At the time of the accident, Pereira had a blood-alcohol level of .123 percent (the legal limit is 08 percent). He presently is serving a seven-year sentence after pleading guilty to one count of vehicular homicide and three counts of assault by auto, Haddad said McKenzie suffered injuries requiring cervical spine fusion, lumbar spine micro- discectomy, arthroscopic knee surgerie on both knees and left shoulder surgery Haddad said The suit, filed in Monmouth County Superior Court, settled after mediation before retired Superior Keefe Sr., now with Red Court Bank’s Judge Keefe Johtn Bartels, Haddad said. Rockleigh’s carrier, Peerless Ins. Co.. paid $850,000 on April 21. and on May 5, the carrier for Pereira, High Point Ins. Co., agreed to pay $100,000, while David Todd’s carrier, New Hampshire Ins. Co Ins and Donnelly’s carrier. Progressive Co., agreed to pay $50,000 and S2.000. respectively, Haddad said. The case had been assigned to Superior Court Judge Katie Gummer, but no trial date had been set. Peerless retained Jack Maloof, of Chatham’s Maloof, Lebowitz, Connahan & Oleske. High Point assigned the case to its in-house counsel. Elaine Brennan, of the Morganville office of Debra Hart New Hampshire retained Christopher Connover, of Morristown’s Ahmuty Demers &McManus. Progressive assigned the case to its in-house counsel. Gary Nitsberg of Cooper Maren& Nitsberg in Iselin. None returned tele- phone calls.

By Michael Booth