Family files civil suit over fatal W.Va. wreck

March 02, 1998|By AMY WALLAUER

Family files civil suit over fatal W.Va. wreck

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A Martinsburg man charged in a January car accident that killed a Hedgesville, W.Va., couple now faces a civil lawsuit in addition to criminal charges.

The family of James and Shelva Head filed the suit Friday in Berkeley County Circuit Court against David W. Grove, 45, of 924 S. Raleigh St.

They also are suing Grove's passenger, Robert E. Barrett, of Martinsburg.

Grove's preliminary hearing on the criminal charges was scheduled for Monday, but was postponed because of attorney conflicts. It has not been rescheduled.


The civil complaint alleges Grove was negligent, careless and criminally indifferent while violating the law by not maintaining control, driving too fast and driving while intoxicated.

According to West Virginia State Police, Grove was driving eastbound on W.Va. 9 on Jan. 25 when his 1976 Mercury Cougar skidded out of control. The Mercury struck the Heads' 1992 Chevrolet Cavalier head-on, police said.

Grove is charged with two felony counts each of driving under the influence with death and driving under the influence with injuries.

The suit alleges that Barrett encouraged Grove to drink then asked for a ride to his girlfriend's home.

In addition to the deaths of Shelva and Daniel Head, the accident caused severe physical and permanent injuries to the two passengers in the Heads' car - their son, Brian Head, 4, and Michelle Pentz, 16, Shelva Head's daughter from a previous marriage, the suit said.

The suit was filed by George Herndon, Shelva's brother, and James Michael Head, Daniel's brother, as administrators of the couple's estate.

Brian Head and Michelle Pentz are also listed as plaintiffs, as well as Pentz's father, James Pentz.

The suit asks for medical expenses for the children, burial expenses for the couple and compensation for the loss of income and the care and companionship Daniel and Shelva would have provided had they lived.

The family's Martinsburg attorney, Michael Santa Barbara, said he will let a jury decide the amount.

Grove could not be reached at his home for comment Monday night.

Barrett could not be located for comment.

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