The family of firewood salesman Mike Angell has filed a lawsuit seeking $4 million from Mike Hull, the Liberty High School football player whose car collided with Angell's on a two-lane road in the summer, fatally injuring Angell.
The lawsuit was filed in Fauquier County Circuit Court by Angell's wife, Karen, on behalf of herself and the Angells' four sons and daughter. The suit seeks $20,000 for Mike Angell's hospital and funeral expenses, $1.98 million for mental anguish and $2 million for future lost income.
The suit, filed this month, alleges that Hull drove "recklessly, carelessly and negligently." No criminal charges were filed against him, and neither speed nor alcohol was a factor in the accident, said Lucy Caldwell, a spokeswoman for the Virginia State Police.
Hull's Cadillac collided with Angell's Mercury Villager minivan about 3:50 p.m. Aug. 12 on Courtneys Corner Road near Sumerduck, about a mile west of Route 17. It took an hour to free the 43-year-old lumberman from the van. He was flown to the University of Virginia Hospital in Charlottesville, where he died two hours later.
Hull, 18, severely damaged his aorta and fractured his pelvis in two places, near-fatal injuries that prevented him from playing in his last high school season. Despite the injuries, the University of Pittsburgh plans to honor the scholarship that Hull orally accepted in June, Liberty Coach Tom Buzzo said. Hull can sign an official letter of intent in February.
Hull and his 14-year-old twin brothers, Adrian and Aaron, had just finished football practice at the school in Bealeton and were heading to their Goldvein home with their sister Dominique, 15, when the accident occurred. All of Dominique's facial bones were broken, and the twins suffered broken and sprained wrists.
Angell was taking one of his five children, Simon, 13, to baseball lessons in Culpeper, and another son, Timothy, 11, was in the back seat. The boys suffered minor injuries.
Karen Angell, 43, asked that her attorney, Lorenzo Lee Bean, speak on her behalf.
"Mr. Angell took very good care of his family," Bean said, explaining why the family was seeking $4 million. "Karen's hanging in there. The shock has worn off. She has her good days and bad days."
Another of Mike Angell's sons, Daniel, 14, is one of two student managers of the Liberty football team and knows Hull. He said in August: "Mike's a really cool guy, and I like him a lot. . . . I'm a Christian, and I'm not going to hold it against him."
Neither Hull nor his parents, Lucretia and Michael Sr., returned telephone calls. The family had not filed a response to the lawsuit, and no trial date had been set.
Unlike a criminal trial, in which jurors must find a defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, plaintiffs in a wrongful death suit must prove a defendant's liability based only on a preponderance of evidence.
The suit coincides with an effort by Fauquier County employees to raise money for both families. County employees designate a local charity every month and typically raise about $600 by donating $2 each on "dress-down Fridays."
Since Karen Angell is a kindergarten teacher at Mary Walter Elementary School in Bealeton, the county expects to raise twice that much this month, said Judy Risdon, a county budget analyst who oversees the program. The money will be split evenly between both families.
Staff writer Alan Goldenbach contributed to this report.