Settlement could be near in crash that killed Roe family

Posted: May 8, 2013

The Winchester Star

WINCHESTER — An insurance company is asking for court approval of a compromise settlement in two wrongful death claims from a June 2011 crash that killed a local family of four.

The petition — filed Tuesday in Frederick County Circuit Court — seeks approval of a $400,000 settlement stemming from the crash.

On June 26, a then 20-year-old Steven Boyce, of the 200 block of Hawk Trail in Shawneeland, crashed his 1985 Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck into the rear of a 1994 Jeep Cherokee stopped at a red light on Martinsburg Pike (U.S. 11) at the intersection with Interstate 81’s northbound Exit 317.

The impact of the crash ruptured the Jeep’s fuel tank, causing it to burst into flames.

Driver Amanda L. Roe, 31, and passengers Mark K. Roe, 49, and their sons Caleb, 11, and Tyler, 4 — all of Stephenson — died at the scene.

Boyce has since pleaded guilty to four counts of aggravated manslaughter, a driving under the influence charge, underage alcohol possession charge and a probation violation.

He is serving a 20-year sentence in a state prison.

The petitioner of the settlement — Progressive Gulf Insurance Co., Boyce’s insurer — states in the documents that all respondents reached the agreement to settle two claims for wrongful death by and through Amanda Roe’s mother, Brenda Simkhovitch, and Mark Roe’s brother, Carl Roe — both of whom are identified as administrators of the estates of Caleb and Tyler.

Other insurance companies involved in the settlement — through underinsured motorists policies — are Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., Allstate Insurance Co. and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co.

Each, according to the petition, has agreed to pay the following: Allstate, $150,000; State Farm, $150,000; Progressive, $50,000; and Nationwide, $50,000.

The money will be distributed as follows, according to the same document: James D. Hundley of the firm of Hundley & Johnson (for attorney’s fees and costs), $134,023.51; Shirley Roe (Mark Roe’s mother), $132,988.25; Brenda Simkhovitch, $66,494.12 and Andy Simkhovitch (Amanda Roe’s father), $66,194.12.

As a result of the settlement, the respondents in the case agree that the final order will contain language releasing Boyce and all of the insurance carriers from any and all liability and exposure as a result of the deaths of the two minors.

The outcome of the settlement also will have no affect or bearing on two other wrongful death suits stemming from the crash that are pending in the same court.

Finally, the settlement, if approved, will not act in any way as a release of claims of anyone as to Chrysler Group LLC, or any related Chrysler entities.

There are two $25 million lawsuits pending against Chrysler for a design flaw in the Jeep Cherokee carrying the Roe family that allegedly caused it to burst into flames.

— Contact Melissa Boughton at mboughton@winchesterstar.com