A manufacturer of recreational vehicles agreed Wednesday to pay $400,000 to the parents of two area boys killed in a fiery crash four years ago.
The two boys, Norman Sacra Jr., 13, of Greenbelt, and his cousin, John Edward Sacra, 11, of Germantown, died when their grandparents' motor home caught fire after a crash in 1979.
The motor home, driven by the boys' grandfather, had failed to halt at a stop sign on Rte. 452 at the Maryland-Delaware line, and was struck from the side by a jeep, according to authorities.
The motor home rolled over and struck a telephone pole.
The grandfather and grandmother, who were in the cab of the motor home, escaped with minor injuries. The two boys, sitting at the dinette table in the back of the vehicle, were trapped and died when fire broke out.
The parents of the boys, Norman and Gretchen Sacra of Greenbelt, and John Sacra of Germantown and his former wife, Wilma Bryant of Alabama, contended that the Indiana company that made the motor home, Coachman Industries, had failed to construct the vehicle to withstand forseeable accidents.
Their attorneys argued in court papers that the frame of the living quarters at the rear of the motor home vehicle was made of wood and the joints had been glued and stapled together.
Attorneys for the company argued that the motor home was not unsafe, and was constructed to meet industry and government standards at the time the vehicle was sold in 1976.
The company did not admit fault in the deaths when it settled out of court after three days of trial in Prince George's Circuit Court.
"Our position was that the motor-home construction was proper and sound," attorney William N. Zifchak said yesterday.
He said the company agreed to settle only because the costs of defending the suit "were becoming intolerable."