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Family of Woman Killed in Albemarle Files Wrongful Death Suit - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Family of Pedestrian Killed in Albemarle Files Wrongful Death Suit

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The family of a Lexington, Virginia woman who died when a van hit her in Albemarle County is suing the driver for $2.5 million in compensatory damages.

Dolores Kostelni, 75, died just two days after she was hit by a 2004 Ford Cargo Van last year.  The incident happened shortly after 3 p.m. on November 13.

The pedestrian was hit by the van as she was crossing at the intersection of Putt Putt Place and East Rio Road in Albemarle County.  Albemarle County police say Wayne Craft, of Keene, was making a right turn onto East Rio Road when he hit Kostelni.

Kostelni was taken to the University of Virginia Medical Center, where she died two days later from injuries sustained in the crash.

The four-page complaint filed on January 28 claims Craft did "carelessly, recklessly, and negligently operate the cargo van in such a way so as to crash the van with great force and violence into Kostelni's body as she crossed the street."

In February, Craft was found guilty of failing to yield the right of way.  According to the case listed on Albemarle County General District Court's system, he had to pay a $75 fine and $61 in court fees.

The Kostelni family is now working with MichieHamlett attorney Greg Webb in Charlottesville to sue Craft, saying they've "suffered severe mental anguish, sorrow, and loss of the solace, society, companionship, comfort, guidance and advice of the decedent as well as the loss of her company, counsel, and love."

Webb says $2.5 million is a fair amount based on history, and actually could have been much higher.

"We have settled or gotten verdicts far in excess of that in the past," said Webb.  "How do you value the loss of a mother and a wife? Some would say $2.5 million is not enough.  We pay vastly more than that for paintings.  Athletes get more than that for a year's worth of playing.  I mean that is a lot of money, that's for sure, but is that enough for a human life?"

He believes the legal system is the only way to make up for this loss. 

"I know there are naysayers that criticize all lawsuits and I run into that a lot and every client I have practically says to a person that they never thought they'd be the one filing a lawsuit," said Webb.  "But when it happens to you and when it happens to your family, it's a different story."

Webb says the lawsuit has not yet been served to Craft. They are currently in the middle of discussions with his representatives.  Webb hopes they will have an idea whether or not to move forward with the lawsuit within the next month.

Kostelni is survived by her husband of 53 years and five children. 

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