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1 Dead After Ambulance Collision on Route 250 in Marion County

Route 250 in Marion County closed for several hours Monday afternoon following a fatal two vehicle accident. At approximately 1:14 p.m. first responders were dispatched to a report of a crash involving a Jeep and an ambulance near the Barrackville intersection of Route 250.

Both vehicles were traveling towards Fairmont on the Husky Highway. The driver of the Jeep didn't hear the ambulance behind it and attempted to turn onto Barrackville Road causing the accident. The ambulance traveled off of the road and landed upside down in a nearby creek. Two people were transported to Ruby Memorial Hospital and two were transported to Fairmont Regional Medical Center, according to the Marion County Rescue Squad. All four MCRS employees had a varying severity of injuries but are in stable condition while no one in the Jeep was injured. However, the Marion County Sheriff's Department said that a patient in the ambulance died during the incident, but that a medical examiner will determine the patient's cause of death. 

The Husky Highway at Hillcrest, Hampton Road, Pike Street, and Smith Road were closed following the accident while The Division of Transportation was assessing the scene, including guardrail damage. The Marion County Sheriff's Department and West Virginia State Police are investigating and reconstructing the crash and have determined that no charges will be filed against the driver of the Jeep, said the Marion County Sheriff's Department.

"The Marion County Rescue Squad wishes to extend our heartfelt sympathies to all involved, as well as their families.  We extend our appreciation to all who assisted at the scene, to include the Barrackville, Farmington, and Fairmont Fire Departments, Monongalia EMS, Harrison & Taylor Emergency Squads, Marion County Homeland Security Director Chris McIntire and HealthNet AeroMedical Services," said MCRS Chief of Operations Michael Angelucci.

 

Texting & Driving May Be To Blame For Head-On Collision

Just after 5:30 p.m. Saturday evening there was a two car accident in Wallace along Bennetts Run Road. According to Harrison County 911 officials, Two people were flown to Ruby Memorial Hospital and four others were taken to UHC by ambulance. Texting and driving may be to blame, but it hasn't been confirmed.

Troopers say four men were driving in a Toyota Tacoma South Bound on Route 20 when the driver crossed the center line and hit a Ford F-150 head on.

Apparently none of the people in the Toyota were wearing a seatbelt. The driver and the front seat passenger in the Toyota were trapped in the car and had to be cut out. Those were the two people flown to Ruby.

The two other men in the Toyota were taken to UHC with serious injuries. A man was driving the Ford and a woman was a passenger in that car; both of them were taken to UHC by ambulance as well.

19-year-old Christian Shaver (driver of Toyota) and 20-year-old Austin Eddings (front seat passenger in Toyota) are in ICU at Ruby.

23-year-old Kyle Thompson (Toyota passenger) was transferred to Ruby from UHC, but his condition is unknown at this time.

22-year-old Michael Gill (Toyota passenger), 46-year-old Jefferson Flesher (Ford driver), and Regina Flesher (Ford passenger) have all been treated and released from UHC.

Charges are pending. Harrison County State Police is handling the investigation.

Mountainfest Gift Card Winner

The winner of the Colombo Law Mountainfest gift card is Jennifer Woody of Buckhannon, WV. 

We are glad that Jennifer took the time to enter the raffle and excited she won the $500 gift card! Congratulations Jennifer, and enjoy your shopping spree.

Stryker Hip Replacement Litigation

The litigation concerning Stryker Orthopaedics’ Stryker Rejuvenate and Stryker ABG II hip implants continues as more and more patients are noticing problems with their “neck and stem” hip implants. In fact, there are currently nearly six hundred lawsuits pending nationwide against Stryker Orthopaedics. Since July 2012, when the company voluntarily recalled these two metal hip replacement components, patients have become increasingly more concerned about their Stryker devices.

Stryker Orthopaedics marketed the Stryker Rejuvenate and Stryker ABG II hip implants as being revolutionary and “next generation” in the world of hip replacements. Their designs were significantly different than the hip implants on the market at the time. However, Stryker apparently did not conduct any safety testing on the devices before they were sold to the general public. Only a few years after they were first introduced, Stryker recalled the implants due to patient complaints of pain and swelling in the areas where the implants were inserted. It was found that the implants were causing the release of metallic debris into the blood stream and into nearby tissue.

The fundamental flaw of the Stryker implants was that the metal devices were corroding inside the patients and releasing particles into their bodies. This led to heavy metal toxicity in those patients. Metal toxicity can cause serious symptoms such as: chronic pain, infections, gastrointestinal issues, dizziness, numbness, and mood swings, among others. Additionally, conditions such as necrosis and osteolysis can occur as a result of the release of metal debris into the body.

In light of the severe complications associated with Stryker’s hip implants, hundreds of patients have filed suit against the manufacturer. Plaintiffs are alleging that the devices are defective and have led to serious tissue damage, and in some cases, painful surgery in order to remove the devices. Further, many plaintiffs are alleging that Stryker knew or should have known that the devices were unsafe.

At this time, Colombo Law is accepting inquires by patients who have been implanted with Stryker Orthopaedics’ devices. If you or a loved one has been injured by the Stryker Rejuvenate or Stryker ABG II implant do not wait to get help. After first speaking with a health care professional to ensure that you are not at risk for any immediate harm, call Colombo Law. Our attorneys are here to help you learn more about the legal options available to you. Call today for a free consultation because you could be entitled to significant compensation.

Mountainfest 2014

Colombo Law was the gate sponsor at this year's Mountainfest Motorcycle Rally. We had the opportunity to meet riders from West Virginia and the surrounding areas and participate in the event.

Now that motorcycle season is in full swing, many area riders are likely making plans to attend other motorcycle events in the months ahead. In this post, our West Virginia Motorcycle Accident Lawyers want to share a few recommendations to help you prepare for an upcoming road trip. Being proactive about planning for a motorcycle trip can allow you to relax and just enjoy the ride.

TIP 1: Make sure your motorcycle is properly maintained before you hit the road. Especially when planning a long ride, it’s essential to confirm that your motorcycle is in good working order. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) recommends a method known as T-CLOCS (click here to view the MSF’s official checklist).

T=Tires: Check that your tires are properly inflated, and carry an air pressure monitor with you while you travel. Also, be sure to check your tires’ tread depth, wear and weathering. If you’re concerned that one of your tires may need to be replaced, err on the side of caution and get a new tire before you take off.

C=Controls: Specifically, you’ll want to check that your cables (clutch and brakes), hoses, throttle and controls are in good condition and good working order.

L=Lights: Your brake lights, turn signals, and headlamp (high beam and low beam) are a key part of alerting other motorists to your presence and to your intended maneuvers.

O=Oil and Fluids: In particular, check your engine oil and coolant, along with your brake fluid.

C=Chassis: Check your motorcycle’s frame, suspension, chain or belt, and fasteners to confirm that are all intact and in good working order.

S=Stands: Inspect your center and/or side stands for cracks and bends, and make sure the springs are in place with enough tension to hold your bike in position.

TIP 2: Pack smart, given the length of your ride, your destination, and your planned lodging. When packing, consider how long you’ll be on your bike, the weather conditions you may encounter, and where you’re planning to stay. For example, if you’re camping, you’ll obviously need different clothing and food items than if you’re staying in a hotel. And of course, don’t forget your safety gear. 

TIP 3: Know your route and be ready for any obstacles that may come up. When possible, it’s best to travel with a portable GPS system, just in case you get turned around or decide to take an unplanned detour. It’s also a good idea to check for any detours, construction zones, or heavy traffic areas that you may be passing through.

TIP 4: Keep safety in mind. As motorcyclists, we know that we can be more vulnerable to injury than other motorists on the road. Always ride with caution: don’t tailgate, watch for unexpected maneuvers from other drivers, and obey the posted speed limit.

TIP 5: Enjoy the adventure! Once of the best things about taking a motorcycle road trip is the freedom and adventure that comes along with the journey. Taking steps to ensure you’re well-prepared for the trip will make the ride all the more enjoyable.

At Colombo Law we serve motorcycle accident victims throughout West Virginia. To contact our office, call us toll-free at 1-888-860-1414.

Colombo Law Has Moved

Colombo Law has moved to a new address conveniently located just off exit 155 on Interstate 79. 

Our new address is:

341 Chaplin Rd. 2nd Floor
Morgantown, WV, 26501

For directions to our new office location, please visit our Contact Us page.

 

Monongalia County Sheriff’s Office Busy Enforcing Seatbelt and Cell Phone Regulation in May

The Monongalia County Sheriff's Office was busy enforcing regulations under the Click it or Ticket Campaign throughout most of May, and focused on traffic enforcement over Memorial Day weekend.

Deputies cited 80 drivers for not wearing their seatbelts over Memorial Day weekend according to a release. Deputies also issued 30 citations for cell phone use behind the wheel and two drivers were cited for texting while driving.

The department used $3,630.00 of funds from the Governors Highway Safety Program during the Click it or Ticket Campaign that ran from May 9 through May 26. The main goal of the campaign is to ensure drivers are using their car's safety restraints, but deputies also caught drivers using their cell phones and texting behind the wheel.

According to a release, the department made 214 traffics stops over the course of 126 hours worked on the campaign. Of these 214 traffic stops, deputies issued 136 citations for seat belt violations, and 26 drivers were cited for cell phone use and four drivers were cited for texting while driving.

For more information about the Click it or Ticket initiative, visit The Governor’s Highway Safety Program website provided by the West Virginia Department of Transportation. 

 

Monongalia County Sheriff's Office Busy Enforcing Seatbelt and Cell Phone Regulation

The Monongalia County Sheriff's Office was busy enforcing regulations under the Click it or Ticket Campaign throughout most of May, and focused on traffic enforcement over Memorial Day weekend.

Deputies cited 80 drivers for not wearing their seatbelts over Memorial Day weekend according to a release. Deputies also issued 30 citations for cell phone use behind the wheel and two drivers were cited for texting while driving.

The department used $3,630.00 of funds from the Governors Highway Safety Program during the Click it or Ticket Campaign that ran from May 9 through May 26. The main goal of the campaign is to ensure drivers are using their car's safety restraints, but deputies also caught drivers using their cell phones and texting behind the wheel.

According to a release, the department made 214 traffics stops over the course of 126 hours worked on the campaign. Of these 214 traffic stops, deputies issued 136 citations for seat belt violations, and 26 drivers were cited for cell phone use and four drivers were cited for texting while driving.

For more information about the Click it or Ticket initiative, visit The Governor’s Highway Safety Program website provided by the West Virginia Department of Transportation. 

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

West Virginia motorcyclists have been waiting through a long winter to get back on their bikes. As the season warms up, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) wants to remind bikers and motorists to share the road and stay safe. May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, a time for riders and drivers to remember to share the road, follow laws, and stay abreast of safety protocol to stay accident-free this riding season.

Motorcycle Safety Awareness month is an opportunity to remind all drivers and riders that we have a responsibility to be aware of other vehicles on the road. Taking this time to remember to driver safely can help prevent future accidents, injuries, and fatalities. Our West Virginia motorcycle accident attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of victims. We are also abreast of safety initiatives and directives focused on keeping West Virginia riders safe. If you or someone you love has been injured in a motorcycle accident, our legal team is also prepared to aggressively defend your interests to recover the compensation necessary in the wake of a serious collision.

According to the NHTSA, 80 percent of motorcycle accidents result in injury or death. This figure is much lower for automobile accidents (only 20%), underscoring the reality that riders face significantly more risk when involved in a crash. Other factors, including visibility, can also make riders more susceptible to crashes, injuries, and fatalities. Motorcyclists are harder to see than other motorists in cars, SUVs, or trucks, so it is important for other drivers to be aware of more riders on the road during the spring and summer months. It is not uncommon for a driver to misjudge how close a motorcycle is or how fast a biker is riding, which can make it more difficult to prevent a collision in the event of an error.

After a long winter, drivers may get used to roads without motorcycles, making them less wary, especially in the spring and early summer months. May is the time for riders as well as motorists to be alert and prepared. Whether driving in the city, on country roads, the interstate, during the day or at night, it is important to watch out for motorcycle riders. According to the NHTSA, motorcyclists are 39 times more likely to die in an accident than a passenger in a car. The injuries sustained by a rider are usually more life-threatening and can be permanent.

Drivers should remember to check mirrors and blind spots. The majority of motorcycle accidents occur at intersections or during a lane change. In addition to driver awareness, motorcyclists should also be cautious. Don't assume that a driver sees you. Riders should also be careful of turning too fast or otherwise losing control of their bike.

Remember that a high number of motorcycle fatalities involve single vehicle accidents. 
There are important precautions that driver and riders can take before heading out on the road this season. Always watch your speed, be wary of your surroundings, and never drive while texting or distracted. Riders should wear protective gear and be proactive to stay visible to other drivers. 

If you have been injured contact an experienced motorcycle attorney. Colombo Law been representing accident victims and their families in Morgantown, Fairmont, Clarksburg, Bridgeport, Weston, and throughout West Virginia for years. Call us today to schedule a free and confidential appointment to discuss your case at 1-304-599-4229.

Two WV Coal Mining Deaths Tied To Dangerous Mining Method

A disaster at a West Virginia coal mine with a history of violations killed two men who were engaged in "retreat mining," a process that an expert Tuesday called "the most dangerous type of [coal] mining you can do."

The West Virginia men -- Eric D. Legg, 48, of Twilight and Gary P. Hensley, 46, of Chapmanville -- died Monday night at Brody Mine No. 1 near Wharton in Boone County, about 50 miles south of the state capital of Charleston.

The fatalities mark the nation's fourth and fifth coal-mining deaths this year, according to the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration. Federal and state inspectors were on scene at the mine, which is owned by Patriot Coal Co. in St. Louis.

The accident drew statements of sympathy from West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and his wife, Joanne, as well as from Mike Day, Patriot's executive vice president of operations.

The accident happened around 8:30 p.m. Monday, trapping the miners for a time before their bodies were recovered. By Tuesday, it was still not entirely clear what happened. Patriot cited a "severe coal burst" during "retreat mining operations" as the cause. The mining administration said it was due to a "ground failure." And the West Virginia Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training called it a "coal outburst."

Tony Oppegard, a former MSHA official and now a private lawyer in Kentucky who represents miners, said it sounded like an unexpected roof collapse might have occurred during the final phase of the operation.

In coal mining, when work is advancing, machinery makes wide tunnels and leaves pillars of coal holding up the roof. During retreat mining, after miners have gone as far as they can, they work their way backwards, cutting the pillars, recovering the remaining coal, and intentionally causing the roof to collapse in front of them.

When engaging in retreat mining -- colloquially known as "pillar pulling" -- companies are supposed to file a detailed plan with MSHA before proceeding, Mr. Oppegard said. They are also expected to educate the miners who will be doing the work about the plan.

But, he said, "Usually when we have fatalities on pillar sections it's because the company was not following the pillar plan and/or the miners were not adequately trained in the pillar plan."

As each row of pillars is removed, additional pressure from the rock above is placed on the remaining coal pillars, causing "extreme squeezing," Mr. Oppegard said. Sometimes that is enough to cause a pillar to explode, leading to a collapse.

It is also possible that a planned pillar removal can cause the roof to collapse beyond the row of pillars being cut.

In October, the Mine Safety and Health Administration put three mining operations -- out of nearly 15,000 in the nation -- on notice of a pattern of violations, including Brody Mine No. 1.

"A POV notice, one of the agency's toughest enforcement actions, is reserved for the mines that pose the greatest risk to the safety of miners," said an administration news release at the time.

The Brody mine received 253 "significant and substantial" violations.

A federal audit found that injured miners accounted for 1,757 lost work days at the mine. Of those, 367 lost work days stemmed from eight injuries that Brody failed to report, the news release said.

Patriot disagreed with the federal government's description of its safety record.

"During the period of time it has operated as a Patriot subsidiary, the Brody mine has made considerable and measurable progress toward improved safety and compliance," Patriot said in a statement responding to the government findings.

Patriot acquired Brody Mining at the end of 2012.

"Many of the violations and the severity measure cited in the POV finding took place under the prior owner," Patriot said. "Immediately following Patriot's purchase of Brody, on January 3, 2013, the company submitted a Compliance Improvement Plan to MSHA. Since that time, the Brody mine compliance performance (as measured by violations per inspector day) has improved by 40 percent."

Patriot also said it replaced all former officers and "key mine-level managers" at Brody.

In September Patriot submitted a Corrective Action Plan to MSHA, which was approved.

Mr. Oppegard, however, noted that violations have continued into 2014, with the most recent listed on the MSHA website from May 7.

Three violations from this year were problematic enough to be considered red flags, he said.

For more information