Mercer County Commission named in wrongful death suit

By Audrey Holsclaw | Jun 27, 2008

PRINCETON -- A woman is suing the County Commission of Mercer County after her husband died shortly after being placed under arrest.

On Jan. 6, 2007, Lawrence Folmer was operating a semi-truck with an attached trailer on Interstate 77, and several motorists reported to the Mercer County Sheriff's Department that his driving was erratic.

When the deputies found Folmer, he was at a rest stop in Princeton in the restroom, standing but unconscious. The deputies determined that Folmer was very intoxicated, and they returned to the truck. A search of the truck revealed various controlled substances.

The deputies placed Folmer under arrest, processed, and charged him with two counts of possession of a controlled substance. The events that followed are what lead Susan Folmer to believe her husband what put at risk.

The deputies contacted a bondsman and made arrangements for Folmer to be released on bond. He, though still very much intoxicated, left the magistrate's office with the bondsman, and he delivered Folmer to Granger's Wrecker Service. Granger's Wrecker Service had transported his vehicle following the arrest. Folmer returned to the cab of his car, where he fell unconscious again.

Filed by Larry Ford of the Charleston firm of Meyer, Ford & Glasser, the suit states that the following day, Granger's Wrecker Service was notified by Folmer's employer that he was to wake up and continue his trip. When the Granger's Wrecker Service employee checked on Folmer, he found him dead.

Filed on June 11, the suit states that the deputies, though aware of Folmer's extremely intoxicated state, made no attempt to have him involuntarily hospitalized or get medical care for him.

Susan was named as the administratix of his estate on April 4, 2007, and she believes the deputies were negligent as law enforcement officers who take into custody an intoxicated person have a duty to ensure that person receives proper medical attention. Because of this, Lawrence died.

Filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, the suit states that Susan is seeking an "adequate" amount to compensate her for her damages as well as interest and court costs.

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