MORGANTOWN -- A Preston County woman is suing a man she claims is responsible for the death of his wife.

On July 23, 2010, Lonnie A. Watkins was operating a motor vehicle traveling southbound on Interstate 79 in Monongalia County in which Ann L. Watkins was a passenger, according to a complaint filed in Monongalia Circuit Court.

Sandra A. Ford claims Lonnie Watkins had previous purchased a hair at Big Lots in Westover and had loaded the cardboard box the chair was in into the bed of his 2001 GMC Sonoma Pickup truck and proceeded to drive home on Interstate 79 when the box fell off of the truck and into the highway.

Lonnie Watkins then slowed down the truck in the middle lane of Interstate 79 to retrieve the box and while the vehicle was stopped in the middle lane, the vehicle was struck by a tractor trailer, which caused the truck to spin into the guardrail and cause Ann Watkins to sustain fatal injuries, according to the suit.

Sandra Ford claims Ann Watkins was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.

Lonnie Watkins had a legal duty to secure a cardboard box containing a chair into the bed of his truck prior to traveling on Interstate 79 and failed to do so, according to the suit.

Sandra Ford claims Lonnie Watkins also had a legal duty to use due care in the operation of his truck and breached that duty when he slowed down in the middle of Interstate 79 after the cardboard box fell out of the truck.

As a result of the defendant's negligence, Ann Watkins' sustained fatal injuries and died, causing her heirs to be deprived of her society, companionship, comfort, guidance, kindly office, advice, services, protection, assistance and care, according to the suit.

Sandra Ford is seeking compensatory damages. She is being represented by David M. Jecklin.

Monongalia Circuit Court case number: 12-C-492

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