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Lawsuits filed in Frederick County teacher's traffic death

By Joe Beck - jbeck@nvdaily.com

The death of a Frederick County middle school teacher in a two-vehicle accident has produced a pair of lawsuits by family members led by her husband.

The plaintiffs are asking for damages totaling slightly more than $6 million in the suits filed Aug. 30 in Winchester Circuit Court on behalf of the estate of Amber N. Lucchiani and her two children, Anthony and Isabella Lucchiani.

The complaints also list Antonio Lucchiani as a plaintiff who filed the suits "by and for" the children and the estate. The suits identify him as Amber Lucchiani's widower and the father of her two children.

The complaints seek damages from Leslie Wylie, 30, of Knoxville, Tenn., and describe how her eastbound 2004 Ford F250 pickup truck collided with a 2008 minivan driven by Amber Lucchiani, 38, around 10:30 a.m. on July 12.

According to the complaint: "At that time and place, defendant abruptly and without warning rapidly accelerated the vehicle she was operating and swerved to her left, causing the vehicle . . . to cross the median . . . and move into the path of oncoming traffic, slamming into the driver's side door of the vehicle being operated by Amber Lucchiani, killing her."

Lucchiani, a teacher at Robert E. Naylor Middle School, was pronounced dead at the scene. Her children, 3 years old and 5 years old, were passengers in the minivan, according to police. The children were transported to Winchester Medical Center and treated for non-life threatening injuries, authorities said.

Winchester police charged Wylie with reckless driving. Winchester Sgt. Frank Myrtle said Thursday that police are awaiting results of a toxicology report from the state crime laboratory.

Wylie was arraigned on Aug. 27 in Winchester General District Court and is scheduled for another court appearance on Oct. 17.

The lawsuit complaints accuse Wylie of negligence and cite reckless driving, failure to keep control of the pickup truck and "other acts of negligence" not spelled out in the suit as the major factors in the crash.

No mention is made of the Botox treatment that police investigators say Wylie reported receiving at a medical office just before the accident.

A search warrant affidavit filed in Winchester Circuit Court by a Winchester police detective states that Wylie told another detective "that she became ill and stopped the vehicle in the roadway" just before the accident. She told the detective that she believed she fell unconscious until she awakened later to "a burning smell and dust from the inflation of the airbag in the vehicle," according to court documents.

The plaintiffs' attorney in both lawsuits is listed as J. Randolph Parker of Charlottesville.

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