Last updated: March 06. 2014 11:14PM - 2593 Views
Times Leader Staff

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A federal civil trial has begun in the case of a 2009 car crash that ultimately led to the deaths of two Luzerne County Naval reservists serving in Kuwait.

The case against defense contractor Combat Support Associates and a former employee involved in the crash, Morgan Lee Hanks, began Wednesday before U.S. District Judge Edwin Kosik in Scranton.

On Nov. 19, 2009, David Morgan of Wilkes-Barre, a Naval Reserve Military Police officer, and a friend, Brian Patton, 37, of Nanticoke, were leaving Camp Buehring and heading for Camp Virginia in Kuwait for a routine call along a supply route when they found themselves on a road with a hill.

According to the suit, when the Dodge Durango the two men were in reached the top of the hill, they were struck head-on by a vehicle driven by Hanks, traveling at a high rate of speed.

Patton, of Nanticoke, was killed. It took 45 minutes to pry the comatose Morgan from the wreckage. Morgan, 38, died last August after a long battle with complications from traumatic brain injuries.

The Morgan and Patton families filed the suit nearly four years ago, alleging negligence, wrongful death, physical and mental anguish, among other claims, and are seeking up to $3 million each for their lost loved ones.

Proceedings are expected to resume this morning, and could go into next week, court officials said Thursday.

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