Schenectady County

Rotterdam family gets $1.2M in repossession death

Ed Kosloski Jr. simply wanted to retrieve a set of tools from a 2001 Ford Excursion that was being r

Ed Kosloski Jr. stood in front of the 10-ton flatbed truck, waving his arms and imploring the driver to stop.

The 44-year-old Rotterdam man simply wanted to retrieve a set of tools from a 2001 Ford Excursion that was being repossessed from his Long Avenue home. But instead of stopping, driver Jeff Theakos revved the engine a couple times, then barreled through Kosloski, according to Chris Flint, an attorney representing Kosloski’s family.

“Mr. Kosloski backpedaled, but was overtaken by the vehicle,” Flint said Thursday. “He tried to grab onto the sideview mirror in an effort to save himself, but fell underneath the rear wheels of the tow truck.”

An investigation into Kosloski’s August 2007 death resulted in no charges being filed against Theakos, who claimed he didn’t see the man in front of his truck and feared for his own safety as he pulled away. But a civil lawsuit filed against the driver, Holmes & Kugler Towing and McGill Investigation Agency resulted in a $1.2 million settlement for the family.

Flint said the trial was in its fourth day when the parties reached a settlement in March. The agreement was approved in Schenectady County Surrogate Court late last month, about four years after Kosloski’s death.

“We were prepared to prove that the incident did not happen as the police were told it did,” Flint said. Attempts to reach attorneys representing the other three parties in the case were unsuccessful late Thursday.

The police investigation determined that Kosloski jumped onto the side of the tow truck as it was pulling forward and turning. Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney said the driver didn’t see the man hanging onto the side of the vehicle as he pulled away in fear.

Authorities said Theakos continued away after driving over Kosloski, but called the Holmes & Kugler dispatcher to summon police. He stopped for a state trooper at the intersection of Hamburg Street and Altamont Avenue.

Flint said the Kosloskis were well aware the truck was about to be repossessed. He said they owed about $5,000 on the vehicle and were willing to part with it.

But instead of arranging a time to pick up the vehicle, Flint said, Theakos showed up unannounced when the Kosloskis weren’t home. Sheri Kosloski returned home with her three children as the truck was being loaded and called her husband to come home. Kosloski returned with three friends just as Theakos was about to leave. Flint said the three men were standing across the street as Kosloski implored Theakos to stop.

But the driver didn’t, and Flint said he struck Kosloski on the passenger side of the vehicle, causing him to slip beneath a rear wheel as the truck pulled out of the driveway. Kosloski died about 10 minutes later from massive internal injuries.

“[Theakos] did this in front of [Kosloski’s] wife Sheri and in front of his three children,” Flint said. “His son … who was 11 years old at the time essentially watched his father get run over by the truck from a distance of about 10 feet.”

Flint disputed the notion that Theakos feared for his safety. He said the driver was about 4 inches taller than Kosloski and outweighed him by roughly 90 pounds. Kosloski also suffered from serious back problems that kept him on disability.

Flint said he’s still amazed the driver was never even charged with leaving the scene of an accident. He was pleased the civil action resulted in a payout for the family, but said they remain deeply traumatized.

“No amount of settlement will ever replace their father,” he said.

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