Scott Wagner, former GOP gubernatorial nominee, sued over crash that injured man

Harper Ho
York Dispatch

Scott Wagner, a former state senator from York County and Republican nominee for governor, is being sued for a crash that seriously injured an 89-year-old Maryland man.

Wagner, 66, allegedly fell asleep behind the wheel on an afternoon in May before colliding head-on with another car in Talbot County, Maryland, according to a crash report.

Harold Barton Morley, of St. Michaels, is suing Wagner and his company, KBS Inc., in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, seeking more than $75,000 in damages. 

"A couple of the doctors actually said my dad had less than a 1% chance of living after the (crash). But he did. Thank God," said son Mark Morley. "That's what we're grateful for."

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Maryland State Police responded at 3:21 p.m. May 8 to a crash at St. Michaels Road (Route 33) and Solitude Road, according to the report. That's about 3 miles from Wagner's Maryland home.

Wagner was driving a Ford F-150, as an agent of a KBS, west on Route 33 when his car crossed over the center line into oncoming traffic, the lawsuit alleges.

The pickup collided head-on with Harold Morley's Toyota Avalon, and both vehicles came to rest in the eastbound side of the roadway, police said. 

Wagner allegedly told police he had fallen asleep at the wheel while heading to his residence.

Harold Morley was "thrown violently about the interior of the vehicle and suffered serious and permanent injuries," the lawsuit alleges.

He broke more than 30 bones and will never be able to walk or live independently again, his son said. Harold Morley had injuries on his right leg, hands and facial areas, the crash report indicates.

Republican candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania Scott Wagner addresses media after casting his vote at Grumbacher Sport and Fitness Center in Spring Garden Township, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Both men were trapped in their vehicles and then taken by ambulance to the University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Easton, where Harold Morley was airlifted to a trauma center in Baltimore.  

Wagner, who was the GOP nominee for governor in 2018, suffered a broken right arm, according to the police report.

Maryland State Police didn't detect any substance use, and neither Wagner nor Morley were tested for drugs or alcohol, according to the crash report.

Wagner, who declined to comment, was cited for negligent driving and failure to drive on the right half of the roadway.

However, a judge issued a “judgment of acquittal” on Sept. 28, according to the Talbot County District Court of Maryland. 

Court records don't indicate why a judge issued a judgment of acquittal in Wagner's case, and questions for details directed to the Talbot County District Court were denied. 

"I'm at a loss to understand really what took place there," said Clark Brewster, attorney for Harold Morley. There was no "real dialogue" with the Morley family about the case, he said. 

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A police officer had contacted Mark Morley sometime in September and asked if his father would make it to court that day for the case, he said.

"I said 'No, he can't get out of bed,'" Mark Morley said, and that his dad was at a hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan. "We didn't know about any of this. I don't know what happened to the court case."

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Brewster said he's unsure at the moment how the criminal case was resolved but that had Harold Morley died from his injuries, the case would have become a homicide. 

"It's a degree of wonderment as to how that could have occurred," Brewster said. "I'd like to know more about that. We will learn more about that."

— Reach Harper Ho at hho@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @howdyhoharper.

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