Passenger in car fleeing police sues driver for injuries

WINFIELD -- If you're going to elude police in a two-county chase, be careful who's driving. That seems to be the lesson from a lawsuit filed Dec. 7 in Putnam Circuit Court. Brian Chandler filed a complaint against Nicholas Angel over injuries he sustained in an April 12, 2006, automobile accident that occurred as Angel drove into a utility pole as they were being chased by Kanawha and Putnam county deputies. According to the suit, Angel was driving his 1999 Mercury on Dairy Road near Poca. The vehicle was being pursued by the deputies. "Defendant Angel did not stop his vehicle after being pursued by said law enforcement officers but instead chose to flee," the complaint states. "While fleeing from said officers he negligently, carelessly and wantonly drove his said vehicle without regard for the safety of his passengers and lost control of his vehicle and violently collided with a utility pole ..." That collision, Chandler says, caused him to sustain serious and permanent injuries to his head, neck, back, chest and abdomen. He says he experienced pain and discomfort so much that his ability to enjoy "a natural and fruitful" life has been altered and impaired. He also says he will require future medical treatment in addition to the medical and drug expenses of $16,310 he's already had. Also, Chandler says he lost wages because of the accident to the tune of $21,114.72. Chandler seeks compensation for his past, present and future damages, as well as attorney fees and court costs. According to news stories about the accident, Angel allegedly was speeding along Frontier Drive in Cross Lanes when a Kanawha County sheriff's deputy began chasing his convertible. Angel drove from Kanawha County into Putnam County but soon crashed the vehicle on Dairy Road in Poca. Angel was charged with fleeing from police while driving under the influence and for reckless driving. Media reports about the accident said Angel and two other people were inside the vehicle but were not injured. Chandler is being represented by Frank M. Armada. The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge O.C. "Hobby" Spaulding. Putnam Circuit Court case number: 07-C-499

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