Commonwealth Court has agreed that state police were not liable for the conditions of icy Interstate 80 when two people were killed in a traffic crash.

The crash occurred Feb. 13, 2002, when an Army recruiter driving two recruits to Pittsburgh lost control on the icy road and his car crashed into a jackknifed tractor-trailer in Findley Township.

Army recruits Daniel R. Daubenspeck and Brad Alan Knight, both 18 and from Oil City, died at the scene of head injuries.

Mary Beth Daubenspeck, who administers Daubenspeck’s estate, and Samuel S. and Marta C. Knight, who administer Knight’s estate, sued state police in December 2004 for wrongful death, arguing state police failed to properly direct and control traffic.

State police responded to an accident at 3 a.m. when a car slid into the median, and ignited flares and lit their emergency lights to warn motorists of the icy conditions. Two other accidents occurred while police were at the scene.

PennDOT was called to correct the icy conditions, but no one from PennDOT had arrived by the time troopers left at 5 a.m.

The fatal crash occurred at about 5:30 a.m.

Ms. Daubenspeck and the Knights argued police should have done more at the scene, more policemen should have been dispatched and that police had not been properly trained to handle the situation.

Kathleen L. Currier and her company, Shooting Star Trucking Co., and Northland Insurance Co. also sued police. Ms. Currier sought to recover for property damage done to her truck, while her insurer, Northland, wanted to recover money it had paid to the estates to settle a federal lawsuit.

State police argued it was immune from liability because it did not own or control the interstate. Mercer County Common Pleas Court Judge Christopher J. St. John agreed, noting PennDOT has been designated by the federal government to maintain the interstate, and dismissed the lawsuit.

The three-judge panel of Commonwealth Court supported St. John’s determination in an order filed March 16.

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