Fatal hit-in-run now subject of civil suit

By Lawrence Smith | Sep 4, 2009


CHARLESTON - Following recent criminal charges filed against her, a Kanawha County woman is being sued for wrongful death following a hit-and-run accident in July.

Jenea Sherman is named a defendant in a lawsuit filed by Jane Ann Cartwright of St. Albans. In her complaint filed in Kanawha Circuit Court on Aug. 28, Cartwright, as the personal representative of the estate of her sister, Mary Francis McCallister, alleges Sherman, 32, of Cross Lanes, contributed to McCallister's death on July 15 when Sherman negligently struck McCallister with the truck she was driving.

Cartwright's suit, records show, comes on the heels of the Kanawha County Prosecutor's Office filing related criminal charges against Sherman alleging she knew about striking McCallister, yet did nothing to help her.

Ruse proves futile

In her suit, Cartwright alleges Sherman was driving along the old U.S. 35, now W.Va. 817, near the intersection of U.S. 60 in St. Albans on July 15. At a time not stated, Sherman struck McCallister, who was walking alongside the road.

Despite knowing she struck McCallister, Cartwright alleges Sherman failed to stop to render any aid. Two days later, McCallister, 50, was found by another pedestrian dead in a ditch.

According to her death certificate, McCallister's cause of death was multiple injuries from being struck by a vehicle. Though McCallister's exact time of death is not listed, the medical examiner estimated she died within minutes of being struck.

Following a month-long investigation by the Kanawha County Sheriff's Department, Sherman was arrested and charged on Aug. 24 with one count of failure to render aid, a felony. According to the criminal complaint filed against her in Kanawha Magistrate Court, what led deputies to Sherman was a 9-1-1 call she made using a fictitious name.

Records show Metro 911 received a call on July 15 from a woman named Vicky Harrison alleging she witnessed a child being struck by a red Chevy Blazer near Miracle Acres. However, deputies who were dispatched to the scene found no body.

Later, after McCallister's body was discovered near Marlane Addition where Cartwright lives, deputies called the cell phone "Harrison" used to call 9-1-1. A woman who answered identified herself as Jenea Bradford said she didn't want to get involved, but acknowledged that "Harrison" used her cell to make the 9-1-1 call.

Eventually, deputies learned that Jenea Bradford was in fact Jenea Sherman and interviewed her five days prior to her arrest after learning that she owned two Dodge rollback-type wreckers. According to court records, Sherman said one of the wreckers was at her boyfriend's father's house in Tornado, and the other was being repaired by a man she only identified as "Eugene."

After learning that "Eugene" was Eugene Spangler, deputies contacted him, and he made no secret that Sherman asked him to hide one of the wreckers after telling him she believed she struck a child. Records show, Spangler took deputies to the wrecker were damage to it was consistent with evidence gathered from the accident scene.

In the course of their investigation, which included recordings of Sherman's telephone conversations, deputies learned that she made references to multiple people that she struck something or someone along old U.S. 35 in mid-July.

Following her arrest, Sherman was incarcerated at the South Central Regional Jail in South Charleston where, as of presstime, she remained incarcerated on a $150,000 property-only bond. Her preliminary hearing was scheduled for Sept. 2.

In her suit, Cartwright alleges Sherman's conduct resulted in McCallister experiencing pain and suffering prior to her death. As a result, Cartwright alleges knowing her sister died so tragically and alone has caused her to suffer sorrow and mental anguish.

She is seeking unspecified damages, including reimbursement of McCallister's treatment and funeral expenses, court costs and interest. Cartwright is represented by Nitro attorney Thomas E. Peyton. The case is assigned to Judge Charles E. King Jr.

Kanawha Circuit Court, Case No. 09-C-1597 (Sherman civil); Kanawha Magistrate Court, Case No. 09-F-1882 (Sherman criminal)

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