Architecture Firm Settles Lawsuit over 2011 Death

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WILKES-BARRE -- The architectural firm that designed a bus station has settled a big lawsuit  brought by the family of an elderly man who was killed there.

The firm that designed the intermodal transportation center in downtown Wilkes-Barre has agreed to pay for damages in the death of that 86-year-old man who was hit by a bus in 2011.

The settlement on Thursday came one day after a jury found the company negligent in its design of the facility, but changes have already been made since the tragedy four years ago.

The exact amount of the settlement is not available, however, we spoke to jurors who were deliberating before the settlement was announced, and they said they were thinking about making the architecture firm pay somewhere in the range of $3 million for the death of the man in 2011.

Edward Rehill, 86, was killed at the Intermodal Transportation Station in downtown Wilkes-Barre in 2011 after walking behind a bus that hit him.

Now, four years later, his family is getting some sort of closure, after the architecture firm that designed the station settled a lawsuit with the family.

The financial settlement came after a jury ruled on Wednesday that the Pennoni Associates was primarily responsible for Rehill's death because of the firm's faulty design.

The jury also found the Luzerne County Transportation Authority, the city of Wilkes-Barre, the driver of the bus, and the deceased partially at fault as well.

As far as what's changed since 2011, there are now flaggers backing up each and every bus.

"They're like our traffic cops, so basically they work in consistency with the bus drivers and Martz Trailways system," said Peter Troyan of Wilkes-Barre.

On top of that, bus drivers honk their horns, back up a couple of feet and stop, and then continue to back up as an extra precaution. It's a precaution that riders say is much needed.

Theresa Bradley rides the bus several times a week, and understands the risks there were, and still are, walking around the station.

"I always try to make sure that if there's a lot of buses, that I make sure I go around about," Bradley said.

Others say you can never be too safe and there's still room to improve.

"That's a good thing, but they should have stop-walks, different crosswalks and stuff like that," said Dave Stock of Hanover Township.

The city of Wilkes-Barre and the Luzerne County Transportation Authority were also held responsible for Rehill's death. Their cases were previously settled.

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