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Chapin Widow Wins $10 Million Award in Singer’s Death

October 7, 1986 GMT

NEW YORK (AP) _ The widow of Harry Chapin will receive $10 million from a jury’s verdict in her suit against the owners of a truck involved in the accident that killed the singer-songwriter, her attorney said Tuesday. Sandy Chapin should receive the money in a few days, attorney Anthony Curto said. He said he was told by lawyers for Supermarkets General, owner of the truck, that there would be no appeal in the case.

Mrs. Chapin, who lives in Huntington Bay with four of her five children, said she was relieved that the trial was over.

″We as a family feel that we have some help now to continue Harry’s work,″ she said.

Curto said Mrs. Chapin planned to use the money to continue Chapin’s efforts against world hunger. The singer was involved with several anti-hunger organizations.

After four hours of deliberations, a jury in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn determined Monday that Chapin, who died in a fiery crash on the Long Island Expressway on July 16, 1981, would have earned $12 million over the next 20 years.

Chapin, who was 38, was trying to drive his apparently disabled car to the shoulder of the highway when it was struck by the truck.

An earlier phase of the trial had found Chapin 40 percent negligent in the accident and Supermarkets General 60 percent negligent, so the award of $12 million for financial loss to the family was automatically reduced to $7.2 million.

With interest from the date of his death, the award is ″in excess of $10 million,″ said Curto. Mrs. Chapin and her children originally sued for $25 million.

Testifying in the second segment of the trial, singers Harry Belafonte and Kenny Rogers said Chapin’s work against hunger provided inspiration for such recent campaigns as Hands Across America, the Live Aid concert and ″We Are The World,″ the all-star recording to benefit African famine victims.

Rogers said Chapin introduced him seven years ago to the Hunger Project, an organization founded to promote the idea that world hunger can be ended. Rogers added ″he had never known a more giving human being,″ Curto said.