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$6.25M Settlement OK'd For Family Of Couple Killed By Tree On Merritt

The couple was killed on a stretch of the Merritt Parkway by a 70-foot pine tree.
The couple was killed on a stretch of the Merritt Parkway by a 70-foot pine tree. Photo Credit: Google Maps

A $6.25 million judgment has been approved by the legislature's Judiciary Committee for the estate of a Westchester couple killed on the Westport section of the Merritt Parkway on June 9, 2007, after a tree hit their vehicle.

In a 9-0 vote, the committee approved the long expected settlement for the estate of Dr. Joseph J. Stavola, 46, and Jeanne C. Serocke, 44, who were killed when a 70-foot tall tree fell and smashed the front of their Volvo.

Their sons, ages 9 and 7 years old at the time, both survived in their car seats.

The settlement comes after a decade of court cases holding the state liable as the accident occurred on state property.

The Pelham Manor couple were killed instantly when the tree smashed through the front windshield of the vehicle.

The case was brought by the executor of their estate James Horan and John Stavola, the guardian of the two boys.

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