CHARLESTON – In addition to police, bill collectors from the state's largest hospital are looking for a Pocahontas County man.

The settlement in 2002 of both a wrongful death and personal injury suit did not end Shawn Wesley Buzzard's legal woes. His failure to pay for bills associated with his stay at Charleston Area Medical Center after a fatal car wreck in 1998 that left one of his friend's dead and another injured, resulted in the hospital filing suit against him.

In the early morning of Nov. 16, 1998, Buzzard was driving a 1991 Ford Escort from the Floating R bar in Jefferson back to his home on Coal River Road in St. Albans . Accompanying him, were Christopher Troy Holstein in the passenger seat and Ronald G. "Pete" Poff III in the back.

Records show at 3:39 a.m., Buzzard lost control of the vehicle and sideswiped another vehicle before colliding with a utility pole in front of his house. All three were transported to CAMC General.

Though both Buzzard and Holstein were rushed into surgery, only Buzzard made it out alive. Six months after the wreck Poff and Holstein 's estate filed respective personal injury and wrongful death suits against Buzzard.

In 2002, court records show those suits were settled for $55,000 and $120,000, respectively, with Allstate, Nationwide and State Farm insurance companies in some way picking up the tab.

Less than six weeks after the personal injury and wrongful death suits were filed, CAMC slapped Buzzard with a suit of their own on July 2, 1999. Through their attorney, F.C. Gall, CAMC alleged Buzzard "owes plaintiff $25,017.86 for hospital and medical services purchased from plaintiff."

On July 9, court records show Buzzard received notice of the complaint and suit when he signed for it via U.S. mail restricted delivery at his home on 815 Coal River Road in St. Albans. When Buzzard failed to reply to the suit, CAMC filed for default judgment on Sept. 9, 1999.

Then-Kanawha Circuit Judge Herman Canady, who also presided in the personal injury suit Poff filed against Buzzard, granted CAMC's motion on Dec. 30, 1999. Records show CAMC filed a lien against Buzzard with the Kanawha County Clerk on Jan. 19, 2000.

In the eight years Buzzard has filed to pay on the debt, the statutory 10 percent annual interest has increased the amount he now owes to $53,628.

Kanawha Circuit Court Case No. 99-C-1458

More News