Civil suit claims driver was reckless, negligent and intoxicated

Last updated: March 12. 2014 12:01AM - 2981 Views
By - elewis@civitasmedia.com



Thomas Letteer, right, arrives at the Luzerne County Courthouse on Monday afternoon to plead guilty to accidents involving death in the fatal hit-and-run that claimed the life of five-year old Kevin Miller four days before Christmas in 2012.
Thomas Letteer, right, arrives at the Luzerne County Courthouse on Monday afternoon to plead guilty to accidents involving death in the fatal hit-and-run that claimed the life of five-year old Kevin Miller four days before Christmas in 2012.
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WILKES-BARRE — While Thomas Letteer Jr. waits to learn his sentence for driving away after he struck 5-year-old Kevin Miller, he continues to face a civil lawsuit stemming from the fatal accident.


Letteer, 23, of Mack Street, Plains Township, on Monday pleaded guilty in Luzerne County Court to accidents involving death that involved the fatal hit-and-run on North Street in Wilkes-Barre on Dec. 21, 2012.


Kevin was holding his father’s hand as they crossed the street when he was struck by Letteer’s Pontiac Grand Am, according to court records.


Kevin’s parents, Stephen and Caroline Miller, filed a seven-count wrongful death lawsuit against Letteer in May.


The civil suit incorporated the criminal complaint and search warrant, noting the emotional pain the Miller family has suffered. The suit also alleges Letteer was reckless, negligent and intoxicated when he struck Kevin.


Criminal charges filed against Letteer did not include drunken driving offenses.


Attorney Neil O’Donnell, who filed the suit on behalf of the Miller family, declined to comment on Tuesday.


The suit alleges Letteer “was intoxicated and/or under the influence of alcohol as he operated his motor vehicle when he struck and killed Kevin Francis Miller on Dec. 21, 2012.”


Letteer’s girlfriend, Abigail Tarver, allegedly told investigators that Letteer was “drunk and came to her house on Friday night (Dec. 21, 2012),” the suit says.


“A drunk Letteer told Tarver, ‘Letteer hit someone and killed them,’” according to the suit.


Investigators said Letteer was at a party in West Wyoming. Party-goers were on their way to Rodano’s Restaurant on Public Square, Wilkes-Barre, and the most direct route from West Wyoming to the restaurant was driving on North Street, investigators said.


Letteer filed a response to the lawsuit on Sept. 20, denying he drove the vehicle that struck Kevin. Letteer’s response blames the fatal crash “on a third person or party over whom he had no supervision or control.”


Letteer’s attorney, Thomas Comerford, could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

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