By KYLA ASBURY
MORGANTOWN – Two individuals who were involved in a car accident are suing BBB Oil & Gas Services for allowing one of its employees who had a history of drinking and driving to use a company vehicle.
Green Range Services LLC and Joseph A. Pina were also named as defendants in the suit.
On May 30, 2013, Pina met Star Lowery at a friend's house to assist her in retrieving some of her personal items and, then drove his 2009 Ford F-250, which was owned by BBB, with Lowery to a gas station, where he purchased alcohol and met with Ken Moore, according to a complaint filed May 22 in Monongalia Circuit Court.
Pina, Moore's supervisor, had arranged for Moore to assist that day and, after retrieving the alcohol, the three returned to Pina's residence, where Pina consumed alcohol prior to leaving on the trip to retrieve the items belonging to Lowery in Pennsylvania, according to the suit.
The plaintiffs claim sometime after arriving at the location, Pina had a confrontation with the residents of a neighboring property and returned to where Lowery and Moore were loading items and ordered them into the vehicle.
Lowery and Moore asked Pina to allow one of them to drive, but he refused, and, leaving the location, Pina lost control of the vehicle, swerved and crossed the center line, leaving the roadway and crashing into a ditch.
The plaintiffs claim Pina warned them to not seek medical treatment or speak to law enforcement regarding the circumstances of the crash.
Following the crash, Pina was determined to have a blood alcohol content level of 0.11 and was driving in violation of state law, according to the suit.
The plaintiffs claim Pina had a prior history of intoxication and operating vehicles while intoxicated, which BBB was aware of and which rendered him unfit to operate a vehicle on the roadways.
BBB knew or should have known that Pina would drive while intoxicated, since he had previously done so, according to the suit.
The plaintiffs claim BBB failed to conduct a reasonable investigation into Pina's background prior to hiring him, which, if conducted, would have alerted them that hiring him and providing him with a company vehicle created an unreasonable risk of harm to the public and any passengers.
The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. They are being represented by Michael J. Romano of the Law Office of Michael J. Romano.
Monongalia Circuit Court case number: 15-C-334