Fatal Crash on I-79 at Westover WV Exit

Westover Accident Update:  Another tragic accident near Westover on I-79 happened Wednesday morning, November 19th, 2014, just before 10:00 a.m. when a head-on collision and fire shut down I-79 about a mile south of the Westover exit.  Both northbound and southbound lanes were closed after the accident.  Firefighters blocked interstate ramps, and emergency medical teams were on the scene.

Witnesses said a southbound vehicle crossed the median and struck a northbound SUV, causing both vehicles to burst into flame.  Current information indicates there was one fatality and the driver who crossed center was taken to the hospital for injuries.  Troopers said two other vehicles, a tractor-trailer and Chevy Malibu, were struck in the accident but their drivers were not injured.  More information will become available as state police release the findings of their investigation.  Every possibility for the loss of control will be investigated including medical conditions of the driver and mechanical failure of the vehicle.


Original story:  A young woman was headed north on Monday, June 17, 2013, when her 1997 Ford Explorer suddenly crossed the median and crashed into a Jeep which was headed south on  I-79 near Morgantown, WV. She was removed from her burning car by a passerby but was found dead at the scene.  Mechanical failure and medical conditions are being investigated to determine a possible cause for the vehicle crossing the median.

Five others, including three children, were injured in the southbound vehicle, a 2006 Jeep, in the crash that occurred at about 12:45 p.m. in the southbound lanes of I-79 near the Westover, WV exit.

Four of the five injured in the Jeep were taken to Ruby Memorial Hospital by Mon EMS, and one child was flown by helicopter.

Eyewitnesses said the Ford Explorer burst into flames almost immediately, but State Police Sgt. J.P. Branham reported the driver of the Ford did not die from the fire. She was the only person in that vehicle. Several people stopped to help.

Traffic was backed up for miles while the southbound lane of I-79 was shut down for hours during the rescue, investigation, and cleanup efforts after this fiery, tragic crash.  In addition to the vehicle debris, clothes from the Jeep were strewn all over the interstate.

The names and conditions of the Jeep’s passengers were not available Monday afternoon. At the scene, all of the people in the southbound Jeep were alive, though badly injured.

Ford Recalls 390,000 Vehicles for Gas Tank Fire Potential

Though the impact of the crash certainly led to this fire, it is interesting to note that as of June 3, 2013, Ford has recalled nearly 390,000 vehicles in the U.S. for a potential fuel tank leak that could result in a fire.

The automaker said the recall affects the Ford Explorer, Taurus, Flex, Fusion, Interceptor Utility, Interceptor Sedan, and Lincoln MKS, MKT, and MKZ. All of the vehicles are from the 2013 model year.  The Explorer involved in this accident was a 1997 model, but if you have a 2013 Ford, you need to contact your dealership for possible recall on your vehicle.

At issue is a part within the gas tank that may fail and leak fuel onto the ground. If the spilled fuel catches a spark, a fire could occur. Ford said it is not aware of any fires, accidents, or injuries as a result of this defect.  The automaker has received 600 complaints as of March 31, said Ford spokeswoman Kelli Felker.

Robinette Legal Group, PLLC — Morgantown WV Injury Attorneys

If you or your loved one has been injured, it is important to act quickly to protect your claim in order to gain the compensation needed to help you move forward with your recovery and your life.  Mr. Robinette has handled hundreds of cases involving serious injury and wrongful death and can provide the insight you need right now.

If you have questions, call Jeff Robinette today at 304-594-1800.  You may also visit our website to find the answers you need today.  You don’t have to handle this alone.

Related posts:

Snow and Sleet Buildup on I-79 Cause Car Accident in Westover  — February 17, 2014.

Source:  The Dominion Post, “Woman Dies on I-79” by Brandy Brubaker, 6/18/2013, www.dominionpost.com

Three Deaths in same Motel Room within Two Months from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide poisoning is emerging as the most likely cause of death of an 11-year-old boy and two elderly guests in the motel room almost two months apart in Boone NC.

Boone police said emergency responders found elevated levels of the gas in the Best Western room where the young boy died on Saturday.

Police say a preliminary post mortem found the boy died from asphyxia, which happens when toxic gases cut off oxygen to the body.

The boy’s mother was rushed to hospital and survived. She is in a stable condition.

An elderly couple was found dead in the same motel room on April 16.

Police said new toxicology results show that elderly couple also died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

The hotel on East King Street in Boone remains closed while investigators focus on the heating system for the pool.

The room where all three people died is above the pool.  The pool permit was suspended on March 16 after inspectors noted ventilation problems in the chemical and equipment room.  The pool had since reopened, but it could not confirm the problems had been fixed.

Duty to Protect from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning — Business and Home Owners

Unfortunately not every hotel or apartment is equipped with functional CO monitors — which means that unwary occupants are potentially exposed to this silent killer.  Hotel guests and tenants of apartments should not be required to wear personal monitors for these type of preventable exposures.  All owners of property, even home owners, should conduct annual inspections of their gas furnaces and hot water heaters that are fueled by natural gas, liquid propane gas or heating oil.  A certified heating and ventilation inspector should ensure that the furnace and water heaters are in good working order and properly vented.   Clogged chimneys and vent pipes often cause a backup of CO gas that eventually escapes to other areas of a dwelling.

What is Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

Often called “the silent killer,” Carbon monoxide is an invisible and odorless gas that is produced when burning any fuel, such as gasoline, propane, natural gas, oil, wood, and charcoal.  Carbon monoxide causes illness by decreasing the amount of oxygen present in a person’s body.

CO poisoning can often be mistaken for other illnesses, such as the flu.  The most common symptoms include headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and confusion.  In severe cases, the person may lose consciousness or die.  Often, other people in the place of business or household will exhibit similar symptoms.

In addition to death, carbon monoxide can cause severe learning disability, memory loss, and personality changes.

West Virginia Carbon Monoxide Wrongful Death Attorneys

Hotel owners and landlords have the highest degree of responsibility to ensure that their facilities are safe for guests and tenants.  Inspections and proper maintenance of equipment and heating units and the installation and maintenance of detectors are common-sense preventative measures one would expect any building owner to have in place to prevent these senseless tragedies.

Robinette Legal Group has represented CO injury victims and the families of individuals who have died from CO exposure.  Jeff Robinette is a National Board Certified Trial Lawyer and has the experience to handle your carbon monoxide exposure case.  If you or a loved one has experienced the devastating effects of carbon monoxide poisoning , please contact us at the Robinette Legal Group, PLLC for help at http://www.robinettelaw.com or (304)594-1800.


Trailer Sway Main Cause of Recreational Vehicle (RV) Collisions on WV Highways

What is a Trailer Sway Collision?

Each year in West Virginia there are multiple highway collisions involving pull-behind recreational trailers that have flipped over due to high winds and  “trailer sway.”    Trailer sway (fishtailing) occurs when big tractor-trailers pass tow trailers on the interstate causing the trailer to oscillate or sway back and forth.  Unfortunately, in some cases, trailer sway has caused serious injuries and fatalities.   It is ironic that operators of those tractor-trailers must be specially trained, tested and licensed in order to operate on the highway, but the law allows a person with no experience at all to pull a 30-foot trailer alongside these large tractor-trailers.

Trailer Sway #1 Cause of RV Accidentstruck pulling rv

As far back as the 1960s, studies showed that persons towing trailers were four times more likely to crash than the average motorist.  Though there is government regulation regarding towing, what is surprising about this is that there are no federal testing requirements for trailer sway devices, so just about any invention can be touted as an anti-sway device.   How did this practice come about?   It is fairly clear that the lobbyists have influenced lawmakers to allow this practice.

The fact that it is legal to pull a large trailer down the road doesn’t mean that it is safe.  What makes trailer sway even more likely is the fact that many sales dealerships don’t always safely match the tow rating of the tow vehicle with the trailer to be towed.  Even when the salesman shows you the “book” that gives the tow rating for your vehicle, that doesn’t mean that your vehicle can safely pull the trailer involved because your vehicle has never been tested together with the trailer you are going to purchase.    So, you learn as you go and hope that you can get the hang of it without any problems.

Hazardous WV Roads and Highways

West Virginia interstate roads are not level and they often bank the wrong way around curves.   Most owners of recreational tow vehicles don’t have the training to react to trailer sway at interstate speeds.   Manufacturers of trailers nor the retail stores selling the trailers provide any training on how to pull trailers under “trailer sway” conditions.    So, the first time you encounter trailer sway could cause a serious problem.rv wreck

Tips for Controlling Trailer Sway:

  • Steady the steering wheel – sudden turns can cause more sway.
  • Gently apply the trailer brake to help reduce sway.  Too much, too quickly, and you will find yourself in more trouble than you started with.
  • Do not slam on the brakes – jackknifing could occur.
  • Do not attempt to steer out of a sway situation.
  • Do not increase speed – trailer sway increases with speed.
  • Do not tow a trailer that continues to sway.

WV Accident Lawyers — Protecting Your Rights

If you or a family member has been involved in a trailer sway collision, you will need an experienced lawyer to pursue your legal rights.     Remember, the manufacturer and sales company will have their legal team to argue that you caused your own collision by oversteering or improper braking.    You will need your own lawyer to look out for your rights, too.

Robinette Legal Group, PLLC — Morgantown Trailer and RV Accident Attorneys

If you or your loved one has been injured due to an RV or Trailer collision, it is important to act quickly to protect your claim. Mr. Robinette has handled hundreds of cases involving serious injury and wrongful death and can provide the insight you need right now. Call Jeff Robinette today for a free evaluation of your case at 304-594-1800 or visit our Robinette Legal Group, PLLC website:  https://www.robinettelaw.com

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Should I Salvage my Vehicle after a WV Car Accident?

What is Spoilation of Evidence in a WV Car Accident Injury Claim?

Many people don’t know that they have an obligation to preserve evidence that caused their personal injury claim.  If you discard evidence (called “spoliation”), you may be prohibited from asserting part or even all of your injury claim.   In auto injury claims, you have a duty to preserve the evidence that is under your control or ownership.   So, you may need to keep a wrecked vehicle in the same condition if the vehicle malfunctioned in any way that may have caused a collision.   You may otherwise want to keep the vehicle in its unrepaired state until you have consulted with legal counsel because once the vehicle is repaired or salvaged, you can’t go back and inspect the damages.   So, you should take lots of photos of your damaged vehicle at a minimum before sending the vehicle to salvage.Van Fire outside

Your insurance adjuster may be encouraging you to discard or salvage your vehicle before adequate pictures or inspections can be taken of the damage.  Keep in mind that the “little scuff” on the back bumper may actually be a huge dent in the metal bumper system behind the plastic bumper cover.   If you allow the vehicle to be salvaged and crushed, then you are stuck with these limitations in presenting your injury claim.

What can an injured person do to make sure that they don’t destroy key evidence for their injury claim?

Meeting your duty to preserve evidence that you own or control can be confusing.  This is yet another reason to engage experienced legal counsel early in the process to safely navigate all the pitfalls that may compromise your insurance claim.

Morgantown Car Accident Injury Lawyers

If you or your loved one has been injured due to someone’s careless conduct it is important to act quickly to protect your claim. Mr. Robinette has handled hundreds of cases involving serious injury and wrongful death and can provide the insight you need right now.

Call Jeff Robinette today for a free evaluation of your case at 304-594-1800.Collision care 3d

We are glad to provide free books and information for WV accident victims: Collision Care: West Virginia Auto Collision Guide, and Righting the Wrong, West Virginia Serious Injury Guide:  304-594-1800.