CHARLESTON – The husband of a woman who was killed in a car crash in Jefferson when a Logan County man hit her station wagon head-on is suing the man's estate and the owner of the car he allegedly stole.

Joseph M. McLaughlin, administrator of the estate of Melissa McLaughlin filed a lawsuit March 13 in Kanawha Circuit Court against the estate of Jerry Dale Ellis and Mandy Smoot, of Cyclone.

Melissa, of Hurricane, and Ellis, of Bruno, were killed as the result of the crash that occurred around 6 p.m. March 13, 2007 on U.S. 60 in front of the Moose Lodge in Jefferson.

News reports said Ellis, 31, was driving a stolen Jeep Cherokee erratically going east on U.S. 60.

According to those reports, Ellis had tried to sell another motorist pills at a stop light just minutes before the crash.

Other callers to dispatchers reported that Ellis was running people off the road before crossing the center line and colliding with the Ford Escape being driven by Melissa.

Both were dead at the scene.

Police at the time said the owner of the Jeep had reported it stolen earlier in the day.

The lawsuit says Mandy Smoot owned the vehicle. The complaint says Smoot is liable for the accident because she had knowledge "both actual and constructive" that Ellis would drive the Jeep in a negligent and reckless manner.

The lawsuit seeks various damages.

Raymond Nolan is representing the plaintiff. The case is before Kanawha Circuit Judge Paul Zakaib.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 09-C-457

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