Suit filed in ice cream road rage case

The lawsuit asks for unspecified damages from a 2000 incident in Martinsburg

The lawsuit asks for unspecified damages from a 2000 incident in Martinsburg

September 04, 2002

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Two people in their 60s injured during a scuffle at War Memorial Park two summers ago have sued the others involved in the scuffle, seeking an unspecified amount of compensatory damages.

Martinsburg attorney Laura Rose filed the lawsuit Aug. 20 on behalf of Robert Everhart, now 70 years old, and Elizabeth James, now 68. Those named as defendants are: Danny Lee Wise, of Martinsburg, who was 18 years old at the time; his girlfriend, Tracy Workman, who was 16 years old at the time; Wise's mother; and Workman's parents, listed as John Doe I and John Doe II. Rose said she was not sure of their names.

The suit stems from an incident on Aug. 20, 2000, when James and Everhart pulled out of a since-closed ice cream shop on Moler Avenue to head to the park.


Wise and his girlfriend were also heading to the park, and said Everhart pulled out directly in front of them, forcing Wise to slam on his brakes, according to testimony during Wise's criminal trial last year.

Wise followed the older couple to the park, which is on Tennessee Avenue, and parked a few spaces away.

Testimony centering on what happened at the park differed during Wise's trial. James said she threw her ice cream at Wise and that Wise punched Everhart without provocation.

James suffered a broken hip and Everhart suffered facial injuries.

Wise said he punched Everhart after the older man punched him and hit him with a large wooden pole that had been in the bed of Everhart's truck, records show.

After Wise and his girlfriend left the park, medics were dispatched to care for the older couple, who were dating at the time. They are no longer dating, Rose said.

About six months after the incident, Wise was indicted on two felony counts of unlawful wounding. Jurors later found him guilty of misdemeanor battery, for which he served about two months in jail. He was also ordered to serve two years of probation and perform community service geared toward senior citizens.

Wise's girlfriend, who was prosecuted as a minor, was sentenced to probation.

Rose said Tuesday that James' medical bills totaled more than $26,000. She did not have an exact figure for Everhart's medical bills, but said they were about the same amount.

Rose named Workman's parents as defendants because the suit alleges they did not adequately supervise their daughter's actions, she said. Wise's mother was named because Wise was driving her car when the incident took place, Rose said.

Rose said she is not sure whether she will seek punitive damages, which are designed to offer victims additional money and try to deter others from committing similar behavior. To seek punitive damages, one must show the act in question was willful, wanton and reckless, rather than just outrageous, Rose said.

Danny Wise's father, Daniel Wise Sr., said Tuesday the family has no comment on the suit. Attempts to reach Workman, who has reportedly moved out of state, were unsuccessful.

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