Charleston man sues trucking, coal companies for father's death

By Kyla Asbury | Jan 4, 2011

CHARLESTON -- A Charleston man is suing Medford Trucking and Elk Run Coal Company after he claims they are responsible for his father's death.

William Darrell Wade was employed by the defendants, according to a complaint filed Dec. 21 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

On Feb. 2, 2009, William Darrell Wade was operating the No. 21 Kenworth coal truck when its brakes failed, forcing him to intentionally drive the coal truck into a ditch in order to stop, according to the suit.

Herald K. Wade, William Darrell Wade's son, claims the defendants said they fixed the problem after the incident, claiming it had been "inspected and correction."

On Feb. 6, 2009, William Darrell Wade was operating the same coal truck when the brakes failed again, causing him attempt to stop by driving it up an embankment, according to the suit.

Herald K. Wade claims his father was either ejected from the truck or attempted to escape the cab before the truck rolled over, but as he was exiting the vehicle, he became pinned from the waist down under the truck cab, which crushed his body against the ground.

"As he lay trapped underneath the truck cab, William Darrell Wade was conscious for an extended period of time and hot fluids from the truck leaked on and over his body," the complaint states.

William Darrell Wade was eventually freed from underneath the truck cab and was transported to Charleston Area Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead upon arrival, according to the suit.

The defendants had actual knowledge of the existence of the unsafe working conditions and the high degree of risk and strong probability of serious injury or death, but failed to fix the condition, according to the suit.

Herald K. Wade is seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. He is being represented by Robert P. Fitzsimmons, Clayton J. Fitzsimmons and Robert B. Warner.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Paul Zakaib Jr.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 10-C-2284

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