Jury says UPS owes $3.8 million in fatal Norwich crash


A jury has said an Oakdale truck driver and United Parcel Service must pay more than $3.8 million to the estate and widow of a Jewett City man killed in a Nov. 23, 2010, crash on Interstate 395 in Norwich.

The jury reached its verdict Wednesday after a three-day trial in front of Judge Susan Peck in New London Superior Court. Jury selection began Jan. 23.

George Upton, 55, was killed in an early morning crash near Exit 82 when his Ford Ranger pickup was hit from behind by a UPS tractor-trailer driven by Joseph Socha, 58. Both drivers were heading south.

The six jurors found Socha and UPS negligent and reckless in the crash. They awarded the estate $508,132 in economic damages and $1.5 million in noneconomic damages, and awarded Julie Upton, George Upton’s widow, $1.875 million.

The crash happened about 2:45 a.m. Socha was taking a load of packages from UPS’ facility in Chelmsford, Mass., to a facility in Norwich. Upton, also a truck driver, was heading to work at Tri-Mac in Bozrah. When hit from behind, Upton’s pickup smashed through a guardrail and traveled down a 40-foot embankment.

Upton, who was ejected from his pickup, was pronounced dead at the scene.