$1 million lawsuit filed over accident

February 24, 1998|By AMY WALLAUER

$1 million lawsuit filed over accident

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A Hedgesville, W.Va., couple has filed a $1 million lawsuit against Tink's Excavating and Hauling and one of its drivers, claiming a 1996 head-on collision was due to the driver's negligence.

But William Manor Jr., owner of the company, said his driver wasn't at fault.

In the complaint filed in Berkeley County Circuit Court, Patricia and Ricky Miller are asking for more than $1 million for the injuries Patricia suffered in the Feb. 16 accident.

The suit said her injuries were severe and permanent. It didn't say what those injuries are.

According to the complaint, Ricky Miller was driving northbound on W.Va. 901. Patricia was a passenger.

Darrell Lee Stotler, of Winchester, Va., was driving a pickup truck south on the same road, the complaint says. Stotler lost control of the vehicle, entered the northbound lane and struck the Millers' vehicle head-on, near Hedgesville Middle School, according to the complaint.


In the suit, the Millers allege Stotler is liable for her injuries because he acted in a reckless and negligent fashion by not maintaining control of the vehicle, observing oncoming traffic or looking out for the safety of others.

The suit faults the Hedgesville excavation company as well, for "negligently entrusting the vehicle to an inexperienced and incompetent driver," the complaint alleged.

But Manor said the roads were so icy that night, even a rescue worker who responded to the scene left via ambulance after falling on the slick road.

"Darrell did nothing wrong. It could've happened to anybody," Manor said.

"It irritates me that people do this stuff. I believe in compensating people for their injuries, but that's the way people are," Manor said. "This is the last grasp for the golden egg."

The suit said Miller accrued more than $2,000 in medical bills from the collision.

The complaint said she has also lost earning capacity and suffered great physical pain and mental anguish.

Stotler and the Millers could not be reached for comment Monday.

The Millers' attorney, Law-rence M. Schultz of Martinsburg, did not return phone calls.

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