Justin Guarini is sued over auto accident. Pennsylvania man wants to hold the singer liable for injuries allegedly suffered during a pre-''American Idol'' crash

By Gary Susman
Updated November 07, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST

Maybe his hair got in his eyes. ”American Idol” runner-up Justin Guarini is being sued by a Pennsylvania couple for $100,000 over a March 2002 car crash, the Associated Press reports. A few months before he found fame on ”Idol,” Guarini’s truck rear-ended the car of Louis and Adrienne Maiatico of Bethlehem, Penn. Now, the Maiaticos allege, the singer owes them big time for injuries to Louis Maiatico’s neck, back, and side.

According to the suit, filed in Northampton County Court on Friday, Guarini was driving too fast and took his eyes off the road to look at papers when he collided with the Maiaticos’ car, which was stopped at a red light. Guarini’s attorney, Douglas C. Roger Jr., did not comment on the suit, except to note to AP that, at the time of the crash, Bethlehem police cited Guarini for following too closely to the couple’s car. He initially filed papers to appeal the ticket, but by then, Roger said, he was in Los Angeles shooting ”Idol,” and he decided the ticket wasn’t worth fighting, so he paid the $25 fine and $75 in court costs.

This summer, Guarini had an accident with a Jet Ski that ran ashore, nearly running over a 5-year-old girl at Joe Pool Lake in Cedar Hill, Texas. ”I lost control of my Jet Ski, and it was an accident that anyone could have had,” Guarini told Us Weekly. ”There was a girl who was 15 feet away the whole time. I passed by her and her father was understandably upset. I apologized profusely, and that was the end of the situation.” He said he was fined ”a couple of hundred bucks” for the incident, not thousands of dollars, as some reports had stated.