Two Teens Killed in Head-on Collision on Fairmont Road

A sad and horribly tragic beginning to a new school year:  Five young people in two vehicles were involved in a fatal head-on collision on Fairmont Road just outside of Morgantown near the intersection with Sugar Grove Road on Sunday, August 17, 2014. At least two of those injured or killed in this wreck were Monongalia County teens from UHS (one a recent graduate and the other still a student).   Due to the sheer physics involved in head-on collisions, the resulting injuries are typically severe and catastrophic.  As a Morgantown car accident attorney, I have counseled many in such times of grief and realize that for each person killed,  parents, siblings, spouses, teachers, colleagues, and friends find their lives forever changed by what has  happened.

As parents of teens, we are all too aware that car accidents are the leading cause of teenage deaths. The risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among 16- to 19-year-olds than among any other age group. In fact, per mile driven, teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are three times more likely than drivers aged 20 and older to be in a fatal crash.  Statistics do nothing to console, but it is important to remember you are not alone, and should not have to go through this without help.

If you want more information, need questions answered, or if you need help regarding car accident insurance issues, click here…

The Robinette Legal Group, PLLC:  Experienced, compassionate help for the hurting.  Questions?  Call today 304-594-1800 or after hours, 304-216-6695.

 

Is There a Difference Between a Collision and an Accident in WV?

Collision CareOne of the classic ways that insurance adjusters begin the process of defeating your claim is to label the wrongful conduct of their own insured driver as an accident.   They will attempt to gain sympathy for their insured driver and make the collision sound like just a little mistake — an accident.   While it is true that many minor collisions occur every day and cause no personal injuries to anyone, it is not accurate to say that all collisions are “accidents”.

When a significant auto collision occurs, causing serious personal injuries, it is self-evident that the person who caused the collision violated the motor vehicle safety laws and is thus guilty of careless, negligent conduct.

It is important to never refer to the conduct of the at-fault driver, who caused your serious injuries, as a mere mistake, or the auto collision as an accident.  If the collision was truly an “accident,” then the law may not hold anyone responsible.  The law requires that legal liability be established on the basis of fault, referred to as negligence.

 WV Uniform Crash Report Replaces Uniform Accident Report

 For many decades, law enforcement officers used the “Uniform Accident Report” form to annotate information about the auto collision.   Notice the word “Accident” in the title of the form?    Insurance companies and defense lawyers loved it!   During trials, the defense lawyer, the police officer, and even the judge referred to the collision as an accident.   So, what’s a jury to think about your claim if it was caused by an accident?  Well, I can tell you from experience — not much.

Recently, however, the use of a revised auto collision report form was mandated in West Virginia.   The change was primarily brought about because a new form had to be created to be integrated with computer software.    Irrespective of the reasons to get a new form in the system, every state, county and city police force must use the revised form: “State of West Virginia Uniform Traffic Crash Report.”   Did you notice the word “Crash” in the title of the report?  You can bet the insurance adjuster and defense lawyer noticed it.

So now, even police officers must recognize that they are investigating car “crashes,” not mere “accidents.”    But, old ways are hard to break, and it will take constant reminders to adjusters and even judges to refrain from referring to the police report as an “accident” report.

 Morgantown WV Collision Injury Lawyers

If you or your loved one has been injured due to someone’s careless, negligent 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 or after hours, 304-216-6695.

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.

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Good Samaritans Save Man’s Life After Van Crash on I-68

Van rollover crash on I-68“It’s just crazy how many people went by and didn’t stop. If I was in his situation, I’d want someone to stop and help me.” Nathan Foreman

Kingwood,  WV:  On Wednesday, January 30, 2012 Brian Delaney of Morgantown, 47, was driving east in a Tri-State Mortuary Plymouth Voyager van that veered into a ditch, crashed into the embankment and rolled several times during a rainstorm.  Delaney works for Tri-State Mortuary Services, of Poca, WV and was “on his way to Martinsburg, transporting someone to a funeral home,” according to Senior Trooper Wood of the WV State Police.

Nathan Foreman and Carl Wilson, education specialists at the USP-Hazelton, came upon the van near the Coopers Rock exit as they were returning from Morgantown. The two men stopped to see if they could help. They found Delaney “hanging upside down on the seatbelt,” according to Wilson.

“He wasn’t breathing,” Foreman said.  According to Wilson, “It was a dire situation.  I used my body to take that pressure off the seatbelt.”

The two borrowed a SharpenedKnife brand pocket-knife from a man who stopped to help. Another man at the scene was small enough to get into the crushed van “to unclick the seatbelt,” according to Wilson. Once the seatbelt was loose, the men removed Delaney from the van and Wilson, a paramedic who once taught emergency medicine, began CPR.

“He slowly started breathing again,” Foreman said. Wilson added, “He didn’t regain consciousness, but he did start to breathe on his own.”

“It’s just crazy how many people went by and didn’t stop,” Foreman said. “If I was in his situation, I’d want someone to stop and help me.”

Delaney was in fair condition at Ruby Memorial Hospital late Wednesday, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

Good Samaritan Laws:  Most states have a statute to protect individuals that assist a victim during a medical emergency. Most Good Samaritan laws are created specifically for the general public and assumes that there is no medically trained person available to assist the victim. Since the Good Samaritan typically does not have medical training, the law protects him or her from being liable from injury or death caused to the victim during a medical emergency as long as the care was given in good faith and without malicious intent.

Sources:  The Dominion Post, 01/31/2013, by Michelle Wolford, “Crash Victim Revived,” http://www.dominionpost.com and http://www.heartsafeam.com/pages/faq_good_samaritan

 

 

Submitted by the Robinette Legal Group, PLLC, West Virginia Injury Lawyers. Free books and downloads for WV accident victims — Call us today: 304-216-6695 or 304-594-1800 for your free copy of Righting the Wrong: WV Serious Injury Guide; Collision Care: WV Auto Injury Guide; or Beside Still Waters: WV Fatal Injury Guide for Families. We are glad to answer your questions.

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New Hope for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Patients

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)Traumatic brain injury (TBI) has been designated as the signature injury of the recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, and as a result many injured soldiers and their families suffer in silence. In response to the need, the US military is now funding new research and has established multiple centers for those soldiers with traumatic brain injuries to receive effective therapies to rebuild and reroute their neurological pathways in the hope returning to work and building a better future.

Though most of the traumatic brain injury cases we handle are the result of vehicle and work accidents, hazardous military duty and sports activities also often lead to traumatic brain injuries (TBI).  Injury to the brain is usually the first injury to occur, and the last to be diagnosed.  Thanks to new funding by the US military and the NFL, more hope, treatments, and tests are available to help heal the wounds.

Symptoms of TBI involve a wide range of symptoms including vomiting, persistent headaches, sensitivity to light, memory loss, mood disorders, inability to focus, slow reaction time, dizziness, depression, blurred vision, and loss of balance.

On the leading edge of TBI research are studies concerning the use of Omega-3 fatty acids and new cognitive therapies designed to reroute and stimulate neurological pathways where healthy parts of the brain can compensate by learning to handle new functions.  Rest augmented by a battery of mental exercises involving memory drills, math, and hand-eye coordination can help a brain accomplish neuroplasticity, a term which means that the brain repairs, regenerates, and reconnects.

Source:  http://www.worldmag.com/2012/12/broken_brains/page1

NFL Supports Brain Health Research

In January of 2013, the results of the examination of the brain of the former NFL player, Junior Seau, were published indicating that Seau’s brain was found to be clearly damaged by the repeated blows inherent to football.  Prior to his death by suicide, he had been diagnosed with degenerative brain disease.   Results of an NIH study of Seau’s brain revealed abnormalities consistent with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a severe problem experienced by dozens of top football players.

The NFL may be facing thousands of lawsuits right now from former players who say that they were not protected or informed enough about the result of concussion.  In response, The NFL, both directly and in partnership with the NIH, Centers for Disease Control and other leading organizations, is supporting a wide range of independent medical and scientific research that will both address CTE and promote the long-term health and safety of athletes at all levels.

Read More  http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/nfl/news/20130110/junior-seau-brain-disease-cte.ap/#ixzz2Hb6czY43

PET Scans and Chemical Markers Can Identify Progression of Brain Diseases in Athletes

More and more, researchers have speculated a connection between sports-related concussions and mild traumatic brain injuries with the development of degenerative brain diseases later in life – most notably chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and even Alzheimer’s disease.

Previously, the only way to confirm a connection between repetitive brain injury and these debilitating brain conditions was through an autopsy.

But now, there may be a new way to identify or track the progression of these brain diseases while a current or former athlete is still alive.

For the first time, researchers from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) have utilized positron emission tomography (PET) scans and a newly developed chemical marker called FDDNP to do brain imaging tests on five retired NFL players. The new imaging technique ultimately revealed the buildup of the abnormal tau protein, which has been associated with repetitive head trauma, as well as the onset of Alzheimer’s.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/01/22/new-scanning-technique-reveals-proof-brain-damage-in-living-retired-nfl-players/#ixzz2IorY31kK

New Research Indicates Omega-3 May be Part of the Answer

Brain Health Education and Research Institute was founded by Dr. Michael Lewis in 2011 to pursue educational and research endeavors to further knowledge of natural and nutritional ways to improve brain health. The initial focus of the Institute is educating providers and the public on the use of omega-3 fatty acids for the prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation of the brain prior to or following injury such as traumatic brain injury or concussion. With Dr. Lewis’ 30-plus years of military experience, a special emphasis is working towards improving the care and outcomes of our military personnel and veterans who have experienced psychological or physical trauma to the brain.

Dr. Lewis is a pioneer in the use of omega-3 for concussion and TBI – a simple, yet profound concept. Everyone is different, but his theory is if the basic building blocks of the brain aren’t present, the brain is going to have a more difficult and longer time putting the pieces back together. Here is something essential to know:

According to Dr. Lewis, there is no cure for concussion and TBI.  All medical providers can do is optimize the conditions to help the brain do the healing. That is what using omega-3’s will do. It provides a tool, the basic building block, for the brain’s healing.

Source:  http://www.brainhealtheducation.org/resources/advances-in-tbi-management/

Omega-3 Aids Brain Recovery of Randal McCloy, Survivor of the Sago Mine Disaster

 

Neurosurgeon Dr. Julian Bailes is often at the cutting edge of the latest treatments for people with brain injuries. Former NFL players and other notable people with brain injuries—including Randal McCloy Jr., the sole surviving miner in the 2006 Sago Mine disaster in West Virginia—have received his care.  Dr. Oz talks with Dr. Bailes about how he used omega-3 fatty acids, a common nutritional supplement, to aid in Randal’s brain recovery.

On January 2, 2006, the nation was captivated by efforts to rescue 13 men who were trapped in the Sago coal mine explosion. While news sources initially reported that all 13 men were alive, tragically it was only Randal who survived. After more than 40 hours of exposure to carbon monoxide, Randal was entrusted into the care of many doctors, including Dr. Bailes. “He’s had a massive heart attack from the carbon monoxide exposure, he was in kidney failure, liver failure, he was dehydrated, he was hypothermic and he was in the deepest of coma,” he says. “We didn’t have anything promising.”

Soon though, Dr. Bailes says he and the other doctors were confident they could save Randal’s life, but it was uncertain if his brain would recover from its extensive injuries. Randal was given three hypobaric oxygen treatments, but Dr. Bailes says there was no drug available that could help repair his damaged brain. “Since there was no drug to do it … why don’t we give him what his brain was made from in the first place, when he was an embryo in his mother’s womb?” Dr. Bailes says. That substance was omega-3 fatty acids. “Omega-3 fatty acids—EPA and DHA—[are] what people commonly would call fish oil, but we gave him a super variety in extremely high doses, up to 19 grams a day that we delivered to him in a liquid form through his tube that was in his stomach,” he says.

As Randal’s brain functions started to improve, Dr. Bailes recorded his findings and now says people suffering from minor to severe brain injuries can benefit greatly from omega-3s. “Consider this as a nutritional supplement, if you will, for their recovery, which I think has very profound effects on the brain,” he says. While Randal was the first known person with brain injuries to be treated with omega-3s, Dr. Bailes says he won’t likely be the last. And, Dr. Bailes says everyone can benefit from the supplement—in fact, he says he takes 800 milligrams of algae-based DHA a day.

Randal McCloy has gone on to live a normal life in a small town in West Virginia, and has become the father of two children since the Sago coal mine disaster.

Source:  http://www.oprah.com/health/Amazing-Omega-3s#ixzz1qQPdLsKe

US Army Funds Three-year study of Omega-3’s Effect on Brain Health

Research published last year by Brain Health Education and Research Institute’s Michael Lewis, MD, in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry reported that active duty military with lower blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids were 62% more likely to have committed suicide compared to those with higher levels.  In October, 2012, the military announced they are funding a three-year study to do just that. In cooperation with the NIH, researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina led by Bernadette Marriott, PhD, a professor in the Clinical Neuroscience Division of the Institute of Psychiatry, will test whether omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oils can relieve the anxieties and quiet the suicidal thoughts plaguing many combat veterans.

“The potential good versus the potential extraordinarily low risk and low cost make this a type of intervention that can be – if findings are warranted – rolled out extremely fast and on a large scale,” said Dr. Ron Acierno, a co-investigator on the project at USC. “Omega-3s are among the primary fatty acids in the brain… They’re responsible for neural generation and neural repair – for new neurons to be made and for broken ones to be fixed.”According to Dr. Hibbeln, “Research conducted in our lab [at the NIH] during the last 20 years points to a fundamental role for omega-3 fatty acids in protecting against major depression, substance abuse and other problems. Here we hope to be successful in understanding if omega-3 may play a role in reducing risk of severe suicidal behaviors among U.S. military veterans.”

Source:  http://www.brainhealtheducation.org/category/all-articles/

New Tests for Brain Injuries

If research by the Army and Cleveland Clinic is successful, then diagnosis for brain injury could include an inexpensive blood test. Medical researchers are developing a test that will determine the presence of a protein that is released into the bloodstream after a person suffers a brain injury.

Researchers are currently testing their findings by analyzing the blood of college football, hockey, and soccer players to even diagnose concussions.  Current methods of diagnosing brain injury involve the use of a CT scanner. These scans are expensive and may also fail to detect slight bleeding and other signs of a brain injury.

The military has also ordered nearly 50,000 sensor helmets with the ability to measure severity of blows to the head and to detect for possible concussions.  The NFL is partnering with the military to place similar sensors in the helmets of professional football players.

Research indicates that the potential for serious lifelong traumatic brain injury is increased greatly if a subsequent head injury occurs a short time after a concussion, so a quick and inexpensive means of determining mild brain injuries could be a lifesaver for military personnel, workers, children, and sports participants.

Source:  http://www.worldmag.com/2012/12/broken_brains

Jeff Robinette, Experienced Brain Injury Litigation Attorney

As a lawyer who has helped victims of TBI navigate and receive substantial settlements from insurance companies, my great hope for these injury victims is that they would be able move forward with their lives and receive the best care and treatment available.  Kudos to those who are at the forefront of this helpful new research designed to overcome TBI and help those people function in a manner close to that of their pre-injury selves.

Submitted by the Robinette Legal Group, PLLC, West Virginia Injury Lawyers. Free books for WV accident victims — Call us today: 304-216-6695 or 304-594-1800 for your free copy of Righting the Wrong: WV Serious Injury Guide; Collision Care: WV Auto Injury Guide; or Beside Still Waters: WV Fatal Injury Guide for Families. We are glad to answer your questions.

 

 

Injured in WV? Get the Facts.

Free Books for WV Accident Victims:

Beside Still WatersRighting the WrongsCollision Care

Click on book image for immediate download, or if you are a WV injury victim, call 1-304-594-1800 or email our office today to have a soft cover book sent to your home at no cost or obligation to you.

Collision Care: A Guide for West Virginia Accident Victims will give you the basic facts that you must know in order to make the best decisions for your present and future circumstances and to help you achieve the best result possible regarding your injury claim. (87 pages)

Righting the Wrong: West Virginia Serious Injury Guide provides serious injury victims and their families essential information about the insurance claims process to enable them to maximize their efforts to rebuild their lives. (161 pages)

Beside Still Waters: West Virginia Fatal Injury Guide provides surviving family members the information they need in order to pick up the pieces of their lives to enable them to rebuild a financial future for themselves and their children. (123 pages)

Click on a book cover image for a free immediate download, or if you are an injury victim or family member, call our office today to have a soft cover copy sent to your home. Due to limited availability, there is a limit of one book per family.

All of these books can also be purchased on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble for $16.95 each, plus shipping, but if you act now, Jeff will send it to you at No Cost or obligation.

Some of the useful information you will find in these books:

  • What Are My Legal Rights?
  • What Is Legal Liability?
  • What Is Comparative Fault? What happens if we were both at fault?
  • How Do I Prove My Claim? What documentation must I provide?
  • For What Damages May I Receive Compensation?
  • Do I Really Need A Lawyer? How to choose the right lawyer for your case.
  • Can I Afford A Lawyer?
  • Financial Motivation Of The Insurance Company – to minimize their pay-outs and maximize their own profit.
  • What is a wrongful death?
  • Statements and Authorizations – Think twice and get advice before you sign that release!
  • Social Media Traps and insurance company surveillance of your activities.
  • Spoliation of Evidence , vehicle salvage issues.
  • And much, much more!

Bonus Information: The Anatomy of a Real-life Injury Case and 10 Ways to Ruin Your Case

Our Mission
Morgantown lawyer and principal attorney, Jeff Robinette, shares what he believes is the mission of the Robinette Legal Group, PLLC. The primary objective of a personal injury law firm is to help the average person who has been the victim of negligence against the powerful resources of the insurance industry.

About the Author:

Jeffery L RobinetteJeffery Robinette is a personal injury lawyer with decades of insurance litigation and trial experience in personal injury and wrongful death claims. Prior to representing injured individuals exclusively, Mr. Robinette was a partner in a major West Virginia law firm where he focused his legal practice on defending serious personal injury and wrongful death claims and lawsuits stemming from auto and truck collisions. He has also represented the nation’s largest and most powerful insurance companies at all levels of litigation including jury trials and appeals in state and federal courts in West Virginia.

Mr. Robinette taught insurance companies and their adjusters how to follow insurance laws and regulations, including how to adjust insurance claims in good faith. He was a frequent speaker at insurance conferences on West Virginia insurance law.

Submitted by the Robinette Legal Group, PLLC, West Virginia Injury Lawyers.  Call us today: 304-216-6695 or 304-594-1800.  We are glad to answer your questions.

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Sgt. Todd May Killed in DUI Car Accident/Jerod Green Trial

Jerod Green Sentenced to 25-50 Years in Prison

02/19/2013:  Jerod Green, 36, was sentenced in Green County, Pa. court Tuesday morning. A jury convicted Green last year on third-degree murder charges in the May’s death during a police pursuit.  Green has been sentenced to 25-50 years in prison.   Green, 36, will not be eligible for parole until he serves 25 years, Pennsylvania corrections and parole officials said. That will be in 2037, when Green is 60 years old.
If parole is never granted, he will complete his sentence in 50 years. There is no good time — time off for good behavior — for violent offenders in Pennsylvania, officials said.

According to Brandy Brubaker of the Dominion Post, Morgantown:  Greene County, Pa., Judge William Nalitz said the only thing he could do to keep Jerod Green from driving drunk and killing again was to put him behind bars for a long time.  “I am struck by the inevitableness of this,” Nalitz said Tuesday. “You were going to continue on this path until you killed someone or yourself.”   Green, a repeat DUI offender, was driving drunk and fleeing police from Monongalia County early Feb. 18, 2012, when he crashed into May’s patrol vehicle, which was sitting on the side of Interstate 79 just over the Pennsylvania border.  “You have devastated one family and you wounded Deputy May’s department and his community grievously,” Nalitz said.

Jerod Green Found Guilty of Third Degree Murder — What is the difference between First and Third Degree Murder?

12/13/2012:  The jury has rendered its verdict in the trial of Jerod Green.  Green was found guilty of 3rd degree murder (instead of the 1st degree murder charges he was facing) for killing Sgt. Todd May on February 18, 2012.  Green will be sentenced later this year.  He is facing up to forty years in prison for the third degree murder charge.  The jury also returned guilty verdicts to charges of homicide while DUI, homicide while violating the vehicle code, fleeing while DUI, DUI above .16, speeding, and duty in an emergency response area.
Those charges could add a maximum of about 29 years in addition to the 20 to 40 years for murder if all of the sentences were run consecutively, according to Pennsylvania code.

What is the difference between first and third degree murder?

In most states, first-degree murder is defined as an unlawful killing that is both willful and premeditated, meaning that it was committed after planning or “lying in wait” for the victim.

A general definition of third degree murder:  Killing that resulted from indifference or negligence.  Usually there must be a legal duty (parent – child), but can also include crimes like driving drunk and causing a fatal accident.

Third day of trial:  Jerod Green’s defense attorney only presented one witness on Green’s behalf.  Green himself declined to testify on his own behalf.  Jerod Green’s crash reconstruction expert said he believes Monongalia County Sheriff ’s Department Sgt. Todd May pulled into Green’s path as Green fled police Feb. 18 on Interstate 79, and, therefore, caused the crash that took his life.

Engineer and professional crash reconstructionist Richard Bragg said the assessment of the crash scene by the prosecution’s expert was flawed and said he doesn’t believe Green intentionally hit May, as the prosecution has alleged.Bragg testified Wednesday in the third day of Green’s murder trial in Greene County, Pa. He was the sole defense witness, as Green opted not to testify on his own behalf. Both sides rested their cases and closing arguments will begin this morning. Bragg said that, as May pulled into the interstate, Green could not possibly have had enough time to react and get out of the way quickly enough to avoid a collision.

Source:  The Dominion Post, “Closing Arguments Today,” by Brandy Brubaker, 12/13/2012.

12/12/2012 update: Cpl. John Weaver testified Tuesday in the second day of Jerod Green’s murder trial about his investigation of the fatal crash scene and explained why Green’s defense is improbable.

The trooper said he believes May tried to turn his SUV away to get out of Green’s path, but Green turned his vehicle toward him again and hit him. He said Jerod Green floored his pickup truck and drove directly toward Monongalia County Sheriff ’s Department Sgt. Todd May’s SUV just before the crash that killed the deputy.

Weaver said Green entered I-79 south at Mount Morris, Pa. Previous testimony indicated that he was followed closely behind by several law enforcement officers, two of whom said they witnessed the crash. Weaver said Green should’ve kept heading straight in one of two open lanes of travel if he wanted to continue fleeing.

“He sees a police car and, instead of taking the open path, he moves toward that police car,” Weaver said. Weaver said Green left the on-ramp early. If Green had followed the on-ramp to the end, he said, there wouldn’t have been a crash.

Weaver said Green was traveling about 98 mph and his truck wouldn’t let him go any faster. At about 2.5 seconds before the crash, modules in his truck indicated that Green had his gas pedal pushed 40 percent of the way down. At about 2 seconds before the crash, Green had it pushed 100 percent down, Weaver said. He certainly would’ve saw May’s patrol car — a Jeep Grand Cherokee — with its lights flashing, Weaver said. Green never hit his brakes, Weaver said.

May, he said, had slowly driven through the grassy median between directions of travel and, would’ve most likely seen Green coming right toward him. Weaver believes, in a last-ditch effort to get out of the way, May cut hard to the left and accelerated to 31 mph.

Green then turned his truck to the right, toward where May was turning, and the left front of the truck violently impacted the right front of May’s Jeep, Weaver said.  Weaver said there are two possible reasons that Green would’ve turned his truck to the right: Because he was trying to turn away from May’s Jeep, but inadvertently turned the same way May did or because he was intentionally trying to hit him.

Weaver said it only makes sense that Green intentionally tried to hit May because Green should’ve hit his brakes and traveled straight if he was trying to avoid a collision.  The trooper also noted that May didn’t position his vehicle in a way that would’ve made sense if he was intending to block or ram Green’s truck as Green’s defense has claimed. He said May was most likely intending to join in on the pursuit.

Weaver said he conducted his investigation by gathering data recorded in modules inside both vehicles, diagramming marks and debris at the crash scene, studying the wreckage, reviewing witness statements, and entering data into a specialized computer program.

Other testimony concerning text messages back and forth between Green and two women the night of the accident indicated that he was distraught and possibly suicidal.  For details, see the Dominion Post.

Source:  The Dominion Post, Morgantown, WV:  Brandy Brubaker, reporter.

12/10/2012 update:  Jerod Green’s trial began today with opening arguments from both sides.  In the opening statement in the trial of Jerod Green, Greene County PA District Attorney Marjorie Fox told a mostly male jury that Green committed the “deliberate act of murder” the morning Todd May died. She said Green intentionally drove his pickup truck into May’s parked patrol vehicle as Green fled police trying to pull him over for driving drunk and fleeing a crash on Easton Hill. May’s vehicle, she said, was parked in the median of I-79 south, with its lights activated.

“He didn’t aim a gun at Sgt. May. He didn’t put on a dynamite vest and jump on Sgt. May, but, in the early morning hours of Feb. 18, his Silverado was a deadly weapon,” Fox said.

Green’s attorney, John Bongivengo, said Green had no intent or desire to kill May. Instead, Bongivengo said May’s vehicle pulled out into the path of Green’s. He said a crash reconstruction will support his claim.Jerod Green image

The commonwealth called about 17 witnesses Monday, some whom testified briefly about items in evidence and other procedural matters. Their case will resume this morning.

Sheriff’s Department Sgt. J.E. Burks told jurors Green smelled strongly of alcohol and slurred his speech when he was pulled over on the Easton Hill in Morgantown. He first lied about being at the scene of the hit-and-run, but then said the other driver caused it and he fled because of four previous DUI convictions, Burks said. Another deputy testified that Green told him he had taken some prescription medications that morning — one of which was to treat his bipolar disorder — and said he hadn’t been drinking.

All of a sudden, Burks said he heard that deputy, Dave Wilfong, yelling for Green to stop and then saw Green driving off. A pursuit began, which eventually led to I-79.
Burks said he was directly behind Green as he entered the interstate. Burks said he saw Green speed up, heard his engine roar, and watched as he drove across both lanes of traffic and directly into May’s patrol vehicle, which he said was parked in the median.

May’s vehicle spun violently, he said. There were debris and smoke. Star City Police Department Lt. Varndell said he also saw the impact as he followed behind in the chase. He called for EMS and ran to the deputy’s vehicle, not knowing who was inside. Varndell said May was lying across the back seat. He couldn’t reach a pulse point. A fire erupted in the hood and a passing tractor trailer driver rushed over with an extinguisher.

Varndell returned to May and noticed he was breathing. A nurse, traveling on I-79, stopped to help. They moved May onto the ground and EMS arrived, he said.

In other testimony:
Green’s ex-girlfriend, Holly Brotherton, said she and Green texted back and forth and spoke briefly while he was at a Ruby Tuesday restaurant the night May was killed. She said Green told her via text that she was right to leave him because he was “the devil” and a bad person who would’ve ruined her life.

She said she urged him to stop talking like that and told him to call her if he needed her. The next morning, she found a text that she hadn’t received earlier because her cellphone had no service.  The text was from Green and said he lost the best thing that had ever happened to him and said he didn’t deserve to “live this life with everyone else,” Brotherton said.

Rachel Hutchinson testified that she saw Green at Bugsy’s, a bar on Point Marion Road, later in the night. He was slurring his speech, laying against the table and not making much sense, she said.

Skylar Johnson testified that a large pickup truck struck her car as she traveled down Easton Hill in the early morning hours of Feb. 18. She said the truck drove off. Police later charged Green with the crash. Johnson said her car was destroyed, but she declined treatment from paramedics.

A forensic scientist with the Pennsylvania State Police said Green’s blood alcohol content was .189. The legal limit for driving in both Pennsylvania and West Virginia is .08.
Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Joseph Popielarcheck said he arrested Green at the crash scene and said he smelled of alcohol, had slurred speech and swayed as he stood up.

Source:  The Dominion Post, Morgantown, WV, 12/11/2012 by Brandy Brubaker

11/15/2012:  Nine men and three women have been selected to serve on the jury for Jerod Green’s trial set to begin on December 10, 2012 at 9:00 a.m in Greene County, PA.  The jurors and alternates chosen have been instructed to discuss the case with no one, to attempt no investigation of the case, and to contact the court if anyone tries to contact them about the case.

10/12/12 Update:  According to Brandy Brubaker of the Dominion Post in Morgantown, Jerod Green is set to go to trial in December for the death of Monongalia County Sheriff ’s Department Sgt. Todd May.  Greene County (Pa.) Judge William Nalitz scheduled Green’s trial for Dec. 10. A jury will be selected Nov. 14.  Green’s attorney, John Bongivengo, said all pre-trial issues have been resolved and they will be ready to go to trial in December.  Bongivengo previously asked the court to move the trial to another county because of pre-trial publicity, but Nalitz said he would decide if it is necessary after first trying to pick a jury. 

9/7/12 Update:  A Pennsylvania judge denied almost all of Jerod Green’s attorney’s requests for evidence suppression, but did agree to throw out Green’s alleged admission that he had been drinking the night of the crash that killed Monongalia County Sheriff ’s Sgt. Todd May.  According to WAJR radio news, that testimony will not be allowed because it was allegedly stated by Green before he was read his rights.

Green, 35, of Morgantown, is awaiting trial on charges of murder of a law enforcement officer, homicide by vehicle while DUI, and criminal homicide, among others, for the Feb. 18 crash that killed May. 

Police in Pennsylvania and West Virginia accused Green of driving drunk, fleeing a crash on Easton Hill, driving away from officers who pulled him over on W.Va. 100, and leading police on a chase across the state line thatended when he hit May’s patrol vehicle, which was parked in the median of Interstate 79, just over the Pennsylvania line. Green, however, alleges that May’s vehicle struck his. 

Jury selection in the case is slated to begin Nov. 14, although court officials said a trial date has not yet been set. In Greene County, a jury is selected sometimes weeks or months before the actual trial begins. 

Greene County Judge William Nalitz ruled this week that the commonwealth may introduce at trial the results of Green’s blood alcohol content (BAC) testing and all evidence obtained from searches of Green’s truck, unless the court later determines that specific evidence seized in the searches is inflammatory. Police previously alleged that Green was driving with a BAC of .189 — more than twice the legal driving limit of .08 — the night of the crash. They have not made public any potential evidence seized with the search warrants. 

Nalitz also ruled that the commonwealth may not introduce Green’s alleged admission to Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Joseph Popielarcheck that he had been drinking the night of the crash. 

Popielarcheck briefly spoke with Green while hewas handcuffed in the back of a sheriff ’s deputy’s vehicle just after the crash and asked him if he had been drinking. Shortly thereafter, the trooper placed him under arrest and read him his Miranda rights, the trooper previously testified. 

Green’s attorney, John Bongivengo, argued that Green was already in custody when he was in the back of the cruiser, and as such, his alleged statement should be suppressed because he hadn’t yet been read his Miranda rights. 

Nalitz agreed with that argument, although he didn’t accept Bongivengo’s insistence that all of the evidence obtained after the cruiser questioning should also be stricken. Nalitz said in his order that Popielarcheck still had reason to believe Green was intoxicated without Green’s own alleged admission because he said Green smelled of alcohol and was unsteady in his gait. 

Bongivengo also argued that the evidence obtained from search warrants should be barred from trial because the search warrants were “overly broad.” They included the seizure of items such as Green’s cell phones and his GPS and his truck’s event data recorder. 

Nalitz, however, said the warrants asked for the appropriate things an officer would need in a fatal crash investigation. 

“An inspection of the vehicle might even prove exculpatory if it is determined that there was some mechanical failure which caused a loss of control,” Nalitz wrote. “Furthermore, we believe the commonwealth is justified in learning whether [the] defendant was distracted during the alleged pursuit by examining his cell phones for messages sent from or to him at relevant times.” 

Nalitz said, at this point, it is impossible to tell if the evidence will be fruitful to either side. 

He said he’ll make additional rulings if the commonwealth tries to introduce any evidence he deems irrelevant or inflammatory.

The Dominion Post, “Judge:  Most Evidence Stays”, by Brandy Brubaker, 9/7/2012

Original story:  Early Saturday, February 18, 2012, a tragic car accident caused the untimely death of Monongalia County Sheriff Deputy Sgt. Michael Todd May.

According to WV Metro News and The Dominion Post of Morgantown, WV, Sgt. May was assisting in the pursuit of a hit and run suspect fleeing police when his police cruiser was struck on I-79 just north of the Pennsylvania border.  Jerod Alan Green of Morgantown, formerly from Oklahoma, has been charged with homicide by vehicle while DUI, first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer, second degree manslaughter of a law enforcement officer, DUI of a combination of alcohol and drugs, and several other charges. On line records from the Oklahoma State Courts Network indicate a man with the same name and birth date as Green pleaded guilty to third-offense DUI and subsequent offense DUI almost five years ago.

Sgt. May was a ten-year veteran of the force. Monongalia County Sheriff Al Kisner said, “He was one of the good guys. People just genuinely liked him. He had a great sense of humor. The guys that worked for him really liked him, they respected him a lot. He was an excellent deputy. He knew his job and was an intelligent person.  Everybody’s upset, everybody’s hurt. Some people are angry about the way things transpired. This is something that didn’t have to happen.”

Update February 20, 2012:  The Dominion Post of Morgantown documents that Green had previously been charged with at least five DUI charges, as well as assault and battery and methamphetamine charges which were later dropped.

National Commission Against Drunk Driving Statistics

  • 41 percent of all traffic crashes are alcohol-related.
  • Nearly 600,000 Americans are injured in alcohol-related traffic crashes each year.
  • Someone dies in an alcohol-related traffic crash every 30 minutes. Every two minutes someone is hurt (non-fatally injured) in an alcohol-related accident.
  • Three out of every 10 Americans face the possibility of being directly involved in an alcohol-related traffic crash during their lifetime. 

Education promotes prevention.

According to USA Today, more than 1.5 million people were arrested in the United States last year for driving drunk and at least that many are estimated to have driven under the influence of drugs.

Drunk and drugged drivers continue to drive our roads and highways, causing more than 17,000 Americans to die each year.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, impaired driving will affect one in three Americans during their lifetimes.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), between 2002 and 2005, West Virginia used a high-visibility enforcement program and cut alcohol related deaths by 18% and the numbers of drivers who tested over the .08 BAC dropped 30%.  This program included increased monitoring and enforcement in conjunction with paid advertisements on radio, TV, and billboards to increase public awareness of the dangers of DUI.  Many states have dropped high-visibility enforcement programs because of a lack of funding, but NHTSA continues to encourage states to maintain high-visibility programs to decrease the number of DUI related crashes, injuries, and deaths.

West Virginia University presently uses an on-line alcohol awareness program for all in-coming freshmen and transfer students.  The students must complete the program by certain dates or must pay a fifty-dollar penalty for missed deadlines.  Morgantown public high schools also have DUI awareness programs before prom activities in the spring to increase student awareness of the hazards and legal ramifications of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. 

The National Health Information Center has designated April 1 – 30, 2012 as  Alcohol Awareness Month  (National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc.) 

Submitted by the Robinette Legal Group, PLLC, West Virginia Workplace Injury/Wrongful Death Lawyers. Free books — Call us today: 304-216-6695 or 304-594-1800 for your free copy of Righting the Wrong: WV Serious Injury Guide; Collision Care: WV Auto Injury Guide; or Beside Still Waters: WV Fatal Injury Guide for Families.

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Some Things to Consider about Veterans:

Though my own military career is long behind me, I still reflect on the valuable lessons I learned while serving in the Army.   My commitment as a lawyer has been greatly enhanced through learning leadership as a young lieutenant in the 82nd Airborne Division and later as an officer in a Psychological Operations unit.  I want to salute my fellow veterans today for the sacrifices they make daily of their personal safety, comfort, and family life – all for us! 

I would also like to share an article written by a young woman who is a disabled veteran trying to move on with her life after sacrificially serving in our military.   I trust her story will make all of us more sensitive and willing to look for opportunities to show exceptional kindness, appreciation, and sensitivity for those faithful men and women who have served and may be working to overcome life-long challenges resulting from that service.

 From Amanda C., Disabled Army Veteran:

“As Veterans Day approaches, may I share a few guidelines that can be helpful when interacting with veterans or service members? 

  • It is never OK to ask a veteran if he or she has killed someone or to joke about it. If we have, we can’t even talk about it with our spouses, much less a stranger.
  • When you thank us for our service or pay for our meal, it is really appreciated. We also appreciate packages and notes. 
  • Please don’t tell us that wars are a waste of dollars or lives or were fought for oil. What we hear is that, in your opinion, our best friend died for nothing. We know many people disagree with war, but it’s better to keep your opinions to yourself. 
  • Many of us now have PTSD. If you see us acting anxious or moving away from crowds, simple kindness or a little distraction will be appreciated. Talk to us about something interesting and give us some breathing room. 
  • Please remember that 15 percent of those who serve in the military are women, and some have been in combat. It’s better to ask, “Are you a veteran?” rather than, “Was your husband a soldier?” 
  • As with any person who has a disability, please do not stare at us. We can be sensitive about our scars or injuries and would prefer not to be asked to relive a difficult experience by being quizzed about what happened. Please also understand that war injuries today are very different than in the past and are often not visible. It is not OK to tell someone they “don’t look disabled.” 
  • Those of us with disabilities appreciate light conversation and assistance if we look like we are in need.
    It was my pleasure to serve our country. — AMANDA C., U.S. ARMY DISABLED VETERAN”

Source:  The Dominion Post, November 8, 2012

Submitted by the Robinette Legal Group, PLLC:  Morgantown Personal Injury Attorneys.  Visit us at http://www.robinettelaw.com or call anytime 304-216-6695.

Driver Plummets Off Bridge While Texting and Lives to Warn Others

“I need to quit texting, because I could die in a car accident.”

That was one of the final texts written by a 21-year-old  before his truck plummeted off a Texas bridge and into a ravine. The young man miraculously survived despite suffering brain injuries and breaking nearly every bone in his body, including his cheekbones, neck and skull. He also had to be brought back to life three times, reports WBTV.

This past Wednesday the young man left the hospital after a six-month stay that included numerous reconstructive surgeries and intensive rehabilitation (he even had to learn how to speak again). Though the incident took place January 24, only now is he able to discuss the crash.

“Don’t do it. It’s not worth losing your life,” the man said of texting behind the wheel. “I went to my grandmother’s funeral not long ago, and I kept thinking, it kept jumping into my head, I’m surprised that’s not me up in that casket. I came very close to that, to being gone forever.”

As smartphones increasingly play a role in our lives, so too does distracted driving. A doctor from the young man’s rehabilitation program told the Daily News that the he is treating an increased number of patients injured because of texting on the road. “And unfortunately I don’t think we’re going to see a decrease in that anytime soon.”

But driving under the influence of your phone isn’t the only issue; pedestrians are also in danger. Recent security camera footage revealed a shocking incident in which a Philadelphia man fell onto train tracks as he distractedly walked and talked on his cellphone. (Luckily there were no trains were headed his way, and the man escaped to safety.)

“If I had a kid 16 years old starting to drive, they could have a phone but the texting feature wouldn’t be on it,” the young man’s father suggests.

This young man believes one of his reasons for still being alive is to spread the message he learned all too well. “I still have things to do in this world,” he said. “I should tell everyone not to text message and drive.”

Morgantown WV Car Accident Lawyers

If you would like more information about texting while driving or need help in navigating the insurance claims process after having been injured by someone else’s negligence or carelessness in WV, please click here.  Jeff Robinette at the Robinette Legal Group in Morgantown answers questions like yours everyday and would be happy to answer yours.  Call 304-594-1800 or 304-216-6695 today.

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Fatal Truck Wreck on I-79


One person was killed in crash Wednesday morning on I-79, near the Pennsylvania state line.

 According to a press release: A 2008 Ford F-350 Super Duty truck belonging to Energy Contractors LLC was headed north on I-79 when the driver lost control, near the 158 milepost. The truck went into the median and flipped several times, throwing out the driver and a passenger.

 The driver was pronounced dead at the scene; the passenger sustained minor injuries.

 A Weston man was identified as the victim of Wednesday’s fatal crash on Interstate 79.

The accident was reported to MECCA 911 at 6:28 a.m. The southbound lanes of I-79 were shut down for about an hour and a half, during which the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation routed traffic from the Mount Morris exit to U.S. 19.

According to its website, Energy Contractors provides a range of services for the oil and gas industry throughout the northeastern U.S. and Appalachian basin.

If you have any questions regarding injuries from truck accidents, contact our office by calling 304-594-1800 (after hours 304-216-6695) , or email Jeff at jrobinette@labs.net.  We answer questions like yours everyday,and would be glad to give you the answers you need when navigating the insurance claim settlement process.

Common Foot Injuries From Accidents

Workplace accidents, car accidents, truck accidents, and motorcycle accidents often result in various types of foot injuries.  These injuries can be extremely debilitating and life changing.  Suddenly, through no fault of your own, you find that you can no longer enjoy activities that have been an important part of your life up to the time of the accident.  Often surgery, physical therapy, and weeks of limited activity are required for optimum healing.  Some of the most common foot injuries include compartment syndromes, fractures of the metatarsals, and fracture of the heel bone (calcaneus).

Acute Foot Injuries

Acute foot injuries that often result from work or motor vehicle accidents include severe bruising, torn ligaments, puncture wounds, ruptured tendons, joint sprains, muscle strains, as well as various types of broken, fractured, shattered, or dislocated bones.

Compartment Syndromes of the Foot

Ankle pain - detailCompartment syndromes of the foot typically result from workplace, industrial, agricultural, warehouse, and motor vehicle accidents.  When a heavy object runs over, crushes, or impacts the foot, swelling occurs along with severe pain. The foot structure consists of many small compartments.  These compartments are filled with muscles, nerves, and tendons and are lined by a tight membrane.  When an injury to the foot occurs, there is often some bleeding in the muscle tissue, causing the foot to swell and expand.   The lining of this membrane has a limited capacity to expand.  If the fluid and muscle swelling inside the compartment becomes significant, they may exceed the blood flow in and out of the small compartments.  If the pressure inside the compartment increases too much, the nerves and muscles start to get squeezed and stop functioning properly.

Metatarsal Fractures; Lisfranc Injury

Injuries to the metatarsal joints are quite common.  They can occur from something as simple as twisting your foot when stepping unevenly or may occur from more violent injuries such as a fall, work accident, or car accident that crush the metatarsals. Surgery is required in most of these injuries.  The broken or dislocated foot bones often need screws that are inserted internally into the bones across the joints for optimum healing.  If surgery is not performed, then a boot or a cast is used.  It can take eight to ten weeks for this fracture to heal with a 70% success rate using the cast.  Surgery has a better success rate with a six-week healing time.  The screws are typically left in for four to five months after the surgery and then removed.  No walking on the foot is permitted for six weeks, and then walking is allowed with a removable b oot for the next four weeks.  Swimming and biking are permitted early on after the surgery. If left untreated, full healing may never occur which means you will never return to your normal activities and which also may lead to painful arthritis that requires treatment.

Fracture of the Heel Bone (Calcaneus)

Fractures of the heel bone are debilitating injuries.  Usually, these fractures occur from car accidents and work accidents when a tremendous force crushes the heel and fragments the bone. Surgery is required to put the bone back together with a metal place and multiple screws.  This procedure decreases the likelihood of severe arthritis later on and maximizes the potential for a good recovery.  If the bone is severely crushed, the bone may also need to be fused.  Following the surgery, no walking on the foot is permitted for three months, and physical therapy is required.  Typical recovery time is about six months.  Occasionally, the surgery does not result in healing and must be repeated. Surgery on the heel  should be performed as soon as possible after the injury to prevent permanent widening and deformity of the heel in addition to chronic pain and arthritis.

Morgantown Accident Lawyers

If your foot or heel injury has resulted from an accident due to the negligence of another driver or your employer, please contact our office and we would be happy to evaluate whether we can help you gain compensation for  your pain, lost wages, and medical bills.  Jeff Robinette at the Robinette Legal Group, PLLC in Morgantown, WV has helped many workplace accident and car accident victims get the recovery they need. Call today for your free consultation at (304)594-1800 or visit our website to learn more about navigating the legal process of recovering from your injuries.  If you are a WV accident victim, we would be glad to send a free book to your home, or make an immediate download of one of our three books available to you for no cost or obligation.

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