Dept. of Transportation sued over fatal car accident

By John O'Brien | Dec 7, 2006

CHARLESTON - The estate of a man killed in a December 2004 car accident is suing the state's Department of Transportation for failing to fix a blocked drain that is alleged to have caused the wreck.

CHARLESTON - The estate of a man killed in a December 2004 car accident is suing the state's Department of Transportation for failing to fix a blocked drain that is alleged to have caused the wreck.

Priscilla Lester, acting as the administratrix of the Estate of Stanley Lester, filed the lawsuit Dec. 1 in Kanawha Circuit Court against the Division of Highways.

It says that despite repeated complaints, the DOH never fixed a drain that routinely blocked during rain or snow in McDowell County.

The complaint says Stanley Lester was traveling north on Bull Creek Road near Mud Fork on Dec. 4, 2004, in his Toyota truck when he "drove into overflowing water and icy mudslides in the road, causing his truck to flip.

"It came to a rest on the side of the hill next to the road."

Lester died as a result of the injuries sustained in the crash, the complaint says.

The drain, known as the "Culvert drain," had become blocked and caused the roadway to become flooded, the complaint says. It adds that mud started to slide over the road, making it hazardously slippery.

Despite previous complaints, the complaint says the DOH "carelessly failed to repair and maintain the Culvert drain in a proper and timely manner."

The lawsuit seeks compensation for sorrow, mental anguish, financial loss, funeral expenses and loss of consortium. It adds that the DOH did not put warning signs up.

Charleston attorney John Mitchell is representing the plaintiff.

Judge Charles King has been assigned the case.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 06-C-2571

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