Police in West Virginia say that alcohol consumption and excessive speed led to a single-vehicle accident that killed a 59-year-old Huntington man on the afternoon of Feb. 14 in Cabell County. A 36-year-old man and a 19-year-old woman were critically injured in the crash, which happened on Ohio River Road near Lesage at approximately 5:30 p.m. The accident led to Ohio River Road, which is also known as Route 2, to be closed to both northbound and southbound traffic for more than four hours as first responders and accident investigators went about their duties.
Police say that the 36-year-old man had been drinking before getting behind the wheel and was traveling at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour before losing control of his Chevrolet sedan. The vehicle left the roadway and overturned after striking a tree. The force of the impact was so severe that the tree was uprooted and struck several nearby power lines, leaving more than 900 local residents without electricity for several hours.
The front-seat passenger of the car was killed by the impact according to emergency medical services personnel. The man behind the wheel of the Chevrolet Cavalier and the woman sitting in the rear of the car were transported by ambulance to St. Mary’s Medical Center in Huntington with what were described as life-threatening injuries.
Arguments of contributory negligence are often made in car accident lawsuits filed by injured vehicle passengers. While passengers accept a certain degree of risk when they get into a car being driven by an individual who has been drinking, experienced personal injury attorneys could still pursue civil remedies on their behalf. This is because West Virginia has adopted the doctrine of comparative negligence, and injured road users who acted negligently may recover damages as long as their reckless behavior was not greater than the combined negligence of all the other parties involved.
Source: The Herald-Dispatch, Police: Car in deadly crash going 100 mph, Courtney Hessler, Feb. 16, 2017