CHARLESTON – A Kanawha County couple is suing Blue Flame Pipeline after they claim it caused life-altering injuries.
In April 2013, George Stewart became employed as a non-supervisory employee of Blue Flame as a Class A truck driver, hauling water pipe to a gas pipeline near Buck Run, according to a complaint filed in Kanawha Circuit Court.
Stewart claims on Sept. 24, 2013, he was operating a tractor trailer owned by Blue Flame and was on his way down the access road when he noticed there was a strap loose on the trailer.
The plaintiff stopped the tractor trailer, set the hand valve brake and exited the vehicle to attend to the strap, according to the suit.
Stewart claims while he was out of the vehicle, he heard the brake valve blow and the tractor trailer began slowing rolling down the hill.
Fearing for the safety of his passenger and other workers below him on the access road, Stewart unsuccessfully attempted to enter and regain control of the vehicle, according to the suit.
Stewart claims the wheels of the trailer ran over his chest, breaking his ribs; puncturing and collapsing both lungs; fracturing his back; and paralyzing him from the waist down.
The plaintiff was taken from the crash scene by ambulance to a Healthnet location, where he was then life-flighted to West Virginia University Hospitals and diagnosed with thoracic spine fractures of T5, T11, T12 with spinal cord injury; multiple rib fractures bilaterally; and paraplegia bilateral lower extremities, according to the suit.
Stewart claims the defendant had knowledge of the unsafe working condition and the high degree of risk and strong probability of serious injury or death presented by the unsafe condition.
Paula Stewart suffered a loss of consortium due to her husband's permanent injuries, according to the suit.
The Stewarts are seeking compensatory damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. They are being represented by Robert B. Warner, Lynnette Simon Marshall and Andrew D. Byrd of Warner Law Offices.
The case is assigned to Circuit Judge Carrie Webster.
Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 15-C-1280