Adele Scavone v. Lorin Feldhouse, et al.: An elderly woman who suffered a brain injury as a result of a car wreck with a homeless drunk driver recently received a jury award of more than $1.1 million.
Adele Scavone, now 87, from Naugatuck, was a passenger in a friend's vehicle headed westbound on Interstate-691 in Meriden at around 8 p.m. on Jan. 26, 2008. Traffic was backing up due to a previous accident on the other side of the highway. As the vehicle Scavone was riding in slowed, a car driven by Lorin Feldhouse but owned by a car dealership smashed into it.
Scavone's trial lawyer, Brian Flood, of the Flood Law Firm in Middletown, said Feldhouse was speeding, though no one's sure how fast he was going. "It was a big, big accident. Both cars were totaled as a result," said Flood. Scavone hit her head, said Flood, and the passenger seat "broke and went straight back. She was facing up looking at the ceiling."
Flood said it was a chaotic scene on the highway that evening. He said pedestrians looking at the initial accident on the other side of the highway were hit by the vehicles from the second crash.
Scavone was taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital and x-rays revealed a subdural hematoma, or brain bleed on the left side of her head. Doctors performed what's called a burr hole procedure, during which they drill into the head to remove a blood clot from near the brain's surface.
Because of the invasive brain surgery, Flood said Scavone has had problems with weakness of her right side, especially her arm and leg. She was eventually transferred to Gaylord Hospital, a rehabilitation facility in Wallingford, where she underwent speech and physical therapy.
"You wouldn't know now she had any speech deficits but following this [accident] she did," said Flood.
However, the problems involving the right side of the body have persisted and Flood said his client has trouble writing and can no longer drive a car. "Doctors did indicate these deficits she was experiencing were directly the result of a left side hematoma" on the brain, said Flood.
While Scavone was receiving the inital treatment at Yale-New Haven, Feldhouse, the driver who caused the crash, was being charged with driving while intoxicated and reckless endangerment with a motor vehicle. As Scavone's lawyers prepared to file a lawsuit, they learned the odd tale of how Feldhouse came to be behind the wheel that night.
Feldhouse was a homeless man living out of his truck when a deacon approached a man named Kevin O'Sullivan, who ran CK Auto Wholesalers in Plainville. The deacon asked O'Sullivan if he could find some work for the down-on-his-luck Feldhouse. O'Sullivan obliged and allowed Feldhouse to stay at the car dealership and perform odd jobs.