MORGANTOWN -- A couple from Erie County, Penn., claim that a Monongalia County man hit their automobile and seriously injured both of them.

James E. and Charleen A. Nelson were both gravely wounded following an accident with Duane R. Keenan, who was driving Chris E. Wright's automobile.

In the suit filed Dec. 27, the Nelsons claim Keenan was driving north in a southbound lane on Interstate 79. According to both the police report and the suit, James was driving and Charleen was in the passenger-side front seat. The Nelsons tried but were unable to avoid the accident, and Keenan collided with their automobile head-on.

According to the suit, the vehicle actually belonged to Keenan's friend, Chris E. Wright of Pittsburgh, Penn., who assisted Keenan in getting intoxicated and then gave Keenan keys to his automobile. But the suit did not say whether or not Keenan was charged with a DUI or DWI or even ticketed following the accident. The suit did state that Keenan was "negligently, recklessly or wantonly" unable to maintain control of his automobile because of Wright's assistance in becoming intoxicated and also his loan of the automobile. However, it also did not mention if Wright was charged with any crime.

Alex J. Shook, of Hamstead, Williams, and Shook, P.L.L.C., filed the suit on behalf of the Nelsons and is hoping for a trial by jury although a judge has not yet been assigned to the case.

The Nelsons are seeking damages of past, present and future suffering, enjoyment of life, mental anguish, annoyance, inconvenience, and medical bills and related expenses. They are also seeking property damages, travel expenses, and miscellaneous costs. The Nelson are also hoping that their court costs, attorney's fees, and other punitive damages will be included in their judgment.

Monongalia Circuit Court case number: 05-C-760

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