Driver facing second lawsuit in fatal wreck

March 31, 1998|By AMY WALLAUER

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - David W. Grove, the Martinsburg man charged in a car accident that killed a Hedgesville, W.Va., couple, was named in a second lawsuit last week - this one filed by his passenger.

Robert A. Barrett, 26, of 604 Park St., Martinsburg, is asking for more than $50,000 for injuries he sustained in the Jan. 25 collision, as well as for loss of income. The suit also seeks more than $50,000 in punitive damages.

On Feb. 27, the family of Shelva and Daniel Head filed a suit against Grove that also named Barrett, alleging he encouraged Grove to drink, then asked him for a ride.

Barrett's attorney, D. Michael Burke, said those allegations are unfounded.

"He was getting a ride to his girlfriend's house. The other allegations are without merit," Burke said. "They allege they had been drinking together and my client had not been drinking with Mr. Grove."


According to West Virginia State Police, Grove, 45, of 924 S. Raleigh St., was driving his 1976 Mercury Cougar eastbound on W.Va. 9 when the car skidded out of control, crossed the center line and struck the Heads' 1992 Chevrolet Cavalier head-on.

Grove was charged with two counts of driving under the influence with death in connection with the Heads' deaths. He also was charged with two counts of driving under the influence with injuries in connection with the two children who survived the crash.

The couple's son, 4-year-old Brian Head, and 16-year-old Michelle Pentz, Shelva Head's daughter from a previous marriage, suffered permanent injuries, according to court records.

Grove is scheduled for a preliminary hearing in Berkeley County Magistrate Court in April on the criminal charges.

Barrett's suit, filed Thursday in Berkeley County Circuit Court, says Barrett incurred more than $2,000 in medical bills and lost more than $2,500 in wages.

He will continue to accrue medical bills and lose income, the suit alleges.

The earlier suit against Grove asks for burial expenses, medical expenses for the children who survived the crash and compensation for the loss of companionship and income.

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

That suit alleges Grove was negligent, criminally indifferent while violating the law, driving too fast and driving while intoxicated.

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

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