CLARKSBURG – A Harrison County woman is suing Energy Services after she claims it is responsible for her husband's wrongful death.
Jestus Wade and Michael Lowther, two employees of Energy Services, were also named as defendants in the suit.
On July 29, Timothy M. Roth, Lowther, Kenny Schindler and Jonathan Talkington went to the Anmoore shop of Energy Services between 4 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. to begin their work day, according to a complaint filed Sept. 8 in Harrison Circuit Court.
Crystal D. Roth claims Wade was also present at the shop at the same time and the crew of men began their work day between 4 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. where Wade was the onsite supervisor for the crew and was aware of how early their workday began.
At approximately 6 a.m., the men left for Carrollton, Ohio, pulling a large and extremely heavy trailer with materials and other equipment, according to the suit, and when the four men arrived in Carrollton, Ohio, they carried out the containment and other professional services at the job site on behalf of Energy Services.
Mrs. Roth claims the men completed their work at the job site between 10 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. and Schindler contacted Wade by telephone and advised him that the crew was finished.
Wade did not instruct the men to stay in Carrollton for the night or to get a hotel room, according to the suit.
"Wade knew the four-man crew would be traveling back to West Virginia as they were expected to be back at the Anmoore shop the next day," the complaint states.
Mrs. Roth claims Wade knew it would take the crew a number of hours to drive back to the Anmoore shop and knew or should have known that the crew would be working approximately 22 hours that day without any rest.
Wade knew that there was no sleeper berth available for the men and no on-site sleeping facilities for the crew to rest, according to the suit.
Mrs. Roth claims that despite this knowledge, Wade made no arrangements for the crew to get a hotel and did not give them any instructions to stay in Carrollton, Ohio, and instead instructed them to return home.
At approximately 2:17 a.m. on July 30, Lowther, who was driving the F-250 pickup truck owned by Energy Services, fell asleep at the wheel and crashed to truck, which resulted in the wrongful death of Mr. Roth, according to the suit.
Mrs. Roth claims the defendants are responsible for her husband's death as they had actual knowledge that the men had been working for approximately 22 hours without rest, which created an unsafe working condition and a high degree of risk and strong probability of serious injury or death.
The defendants violated Department of Transportation and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations by allowing Lowther and the crew to work 22 hours without rest, according to the suit.
Mrs. Roth claims Energy Services and Wade "had actual knowledge ad in fact encouraged their employees to falsify Department of Transportation records when necessary to inaccurately reflect periods of rest during a work day when these defendants knew that the crew had no rest."
The defendants' actions caused the wrongful death of Mr. Roth and the defendants further attempted to cover up their liability and violations of the Department of Transportation regulations, according to the suit.
Mrs. Roth is seeking compensatory damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. She is being represented by Dino S. Colombo.
Harrison Circuit Court case number: 11-C-394