Passenger sues driver following car accident

Prainito, Patterson fined

By: Chris Jackett | Royal Oak Review | Published February 6, 2013

PONTIAC/ROCHESTER HILLS — A car accident involving Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson has taken a new turn, as the passenger of the driver accused of causing the accident is now suing the man who was driving that car.

Royal Oak resident Anthony Prainito, 31, was making a left-hand turn off Opdyke and onto Walton in Auburn Hills Aug. 10, 2012, when his Volkswagen Passat struck an eastbound Chrysler 300 driven by Owosso resident James Cram, 60. Patterson, 73, was a passenger in Cram’s vehicle, and Raymond Recchia, 51, was a passenger in Prainito’s vehicle.

Law enforcement determined Prainito had a blinking yellow light and Cram had a green light, but Cram was driving 54 mph in a 45-mph zone and didn’t hit his breaks until two-tenths of a second before impact, according to Joshua Nucian, Prainito’s defense attorney.

Only Recchia was wearing a seat belt, but only Prainito walked away from the accident, as the impact hit the passenger side, where Recchia was sitting. As such, Prainito faced three counts of committing a moving violation causing serious impairment of a bodily function, which is a maximum 93-day misdemeanor, if found guilty by 52-3 District Court Judge Lisa Asadoorian in Rochester Hills.

Patterson was hospitalized for nearly two months following the crash and Cram was critically injured.

However, following reluctance by Patterson and Cram to release their medical records to Nucian, the Prosecutor’s Office settled with Prainito Jan. 10.

“The criminal case was resolved the day before trial was to start,” Nucian said. “Cram and Patterson released their medical records to the judge, but wouldn’t allow them to be released to me. We pled responsible to failure to yield, which is a two-point violation and a fine.”

As opposed to three months in jail, Prainito paid two fines totaling $190. Patterson was also fined $65 for not wearing a seat belt. Cram was not fined.

The week after the case was settled, Recchia sued Prainito for monetary damages of more than $25,000 stemming from his injuries, meaning it will be heard in Oakland County Circuit Court in Pontiac.

Recchia reportedly suffered multiple bilateral pelvic fractures, multiple traumatic injuries to his chest and abdomen, rib and sternum fractures, lacerations, contusions, disfigurement, chipped teeth and a finger tendon injury that required surgery. VW Credit is listed alongside Prainito as a co-defendant in the civil lawsuit.

Craig M. Weber, Recchia’s attorney, did not return several messages left last week.

“Recchia is suing Tony based on the plea of responsible for failure to yield,” Nucian said. “That case may not go too far, and we won’t know for at least a month. Raymond Recchia may be precluded from suing Tony.”

Nucian said that, because Recchia and Prainito were on the job together in a company vehicle, the suit might be thrown out before making it to court. However, he said Recchia would be within his rights to direct a suit at Cram, if he chose to do so.

No future court dates have been set regarding the accident.