Miracle Baby in a Drainage Ditch Story Illustrates the Need for Secure Child Seats

The most amazing thing happened along I-30 this week when a tractor-trailer sideswiped  car also traveling down the the interstate, tearing the door off the vehicle and causing the car to flip.  The driver, a mother, and her baby were ejected from the vehicle.  Her car seat was soon found, but the infant wasn’t in it.

A short time later, a good samaritan who was searching the area heard some noises from some piles of hay alongside the highway.  He continued his search, and found that an eight-month-old baby was sitting up in the bottom of a drainage ditch, holding out her arms to be picked up.  She wasn’t screaming, wasn’t crying… merely waiting.

Drainage Ditch Where Baby Was Found
Drainage Ditch Where Baby Was Found

The drainage ditch was about 25 feet from the roadway.  It is imagined that the baby rolled down the hill after the semi hit the car and caused the accident, and landed in the drain, sustaining only a scratch on her forehead.  It took three firefighters to get her out.

The mother and four other people were taken to the hospital for more serious injuries.

Miracle Baby After Rescue

Miracle Baby Thrown From Car and Survived
Miracle Baby
Police confirmed that the child was not properly restrained in the car seat at the time of the semi-truck accident and that the car seat was also not properly installed.
The driver of the truck was cited for an improper and unsafe lane change.

Car Seat Safety

Miracles can and do happen, but you can’t count on a miracle to save your child in the event of an accident.  Make sure your baby is properly secured in the car seat, and that the seat itself is securely fastened into your vehicle.
Car Seat Properly Installed
Car Seat Properly Installed

Tips For Keeping Your Little Ones Safe:

    • Read the car seat instruction manual and the portion of your vehicle’s owner’s manual on car seat installation. Every car seat needs to be installed using either the lower anchors of the LATCH system or the seat belt to secure it in place. If you choose to use a seat belt to install your car seat, pay close attention to how to lock your seat belt in the vehicle owner’s manual. Because every car seat and vehicle is different, it’s important to follow all instructions carefully.
    • Place the car seat in the back seat of your vehicle and follow the manufacturer’s installation directions.
    • The car seat must be secured tightly in the vehicle. It should not move side-to-side or front-to-back more than 1 inch when pulled at the belt path.
    • If it is a forward-facing seat and has a top tether strap, connect it to the tether anchor and tighten. This step is very important as it limits forward head movement in a crash.
    • If it is a rear-facing seat, make sure the car seat is installed at the correct recline angle. Most car seats have built-in angle indicators or adjustors that help with this step.

Learn More About What You Should Do After a Collision

Get 7 Tips for Car Accident Claims


CNN, Infant Ejected from Car is Found Alive in Storm Drain, November 28, 2016

USA Today, Thrown from Car, Baby is Found Safe in Storm Drain, November 28, 2016

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), The Right Fit, Car Seat Installation 


Look Alert: Second Pedestrian Fatality in Morgantown in a Month

Morgantown Police are investigating and fatal hit and run accident that happened early in the morning on September 15, 2013.  Police continue to search for the vehicle and driver which killed this student pedestrian on Patteson Drive in an area between Krepps Park and Arby’s.

According to a Morgantown Police Department news release, a vehicle was traveling east on Patteson Drive when it struck a pedestrian in the roadway. The vehicle then fled the scene.

Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to call the Morgantown Police Department at (304) 284-7522.

Second Fatal Pedestrian Accident in Morgantown within a Month

The incident marks the second pedestrian hit and killed by a vehicle in the past 30 days in Morgantown. On Aug. 20, a man was driving along South High Street when he struck and killed an elderly Morgantown gentleman as he was attempting to cross the street.

Local Morgantown drivers need to stay alert and be aware, especially at night when visibility is diminished, for the sake of pedestrians crossing streets, especially downtown on High and Spruce Streets, and along Van Voorhis Road, Chestnut Ridge Road, and Patteson Drive.

Hit and Run Drivers Need to be Prosecuted to the Fullest Extent of the Law

Car accidents are sometimes understandable mistakes or are simply unavoidable. But as soon as drivers flee the scene in order to avoid responsibility, the accident becomes a crime. In cases like this one, families often file wrongful death lawsuits against hit-and-run drivers in addition to criminal charges.

We need to send a message to hit-and-run drivers which is:  you will be caught, and you will be prosecuted, so don’t make matters worse for yourself or anyone else involved.

Source:  The Dominion Post, “Student Killed in hit-and-run” by Alex Lang, September 16, 2013, http://www.dominionpost.com

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

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 304-594-1800.

Marijuana Legalized in the States of Washington and Colorado

Washington and Colorado voters made their states the first in the nation to legalize recreational pot use on November 6, 2012 even though use is a violation of federal law.  The measure sets up a system of state-licensed marijuana growers, processors and retail stores, where adults over 21 can buy up to an ounce. It also establishes a standard blood test limit for driving under the influence.  Home growing has also become legal in Colorado, but not Washington.  The state of Oregon also voted on the issue in 2012 and legalization with unrestricted cultivation received 47% of the vote.  The issue is expected to be voted on again in 2016 in Oregon, as well as in California and Maine. 

Though it currently remains illegal to sell non-medical marijuana in the state — recreational pot shops won’t be able to get licenses to open for about another year — the law allows people to give marijuana to one another without compensation.
The Governor of Colorado, John Hickenlooper, is on the record opposing his state’s amendment which seeks to regulate and tax marijuana like alcohol.  “Colorado is known for many great things –- marijuana should not be one of them,” Hickenlooper said in a statement. “Amendment 64 has the potential to increase the number of children using drugs and would detract from efforts to make Colorado the healthiest state in the nation. It sends the wrong message to kids that drugs are OK.”

Supporters of the new law argue that legalizing marijuana could help bring in hundreds of millions of dollars a year in pot taxes, reduce small-time pot-related arrests and give supporters a chance to show whether decriminalization is a viable strategy in the war on drugs.

House Bill 2230, the West Virginia Compassionate Medical Marijuana Bill includes this clause concerning the medical use of marijuana:  “States are not required to enforce federal law or prosecute people for engaging in activities prohibited by federal law. Therefore, compliance with this article does not put the State of West Virginia in violation of federal law.”  But, be aware: just because state laws have changed, that doesn’t necessarily mean if you are caught in possession of marijuana in a state which has legalized recreational use you won’t go to jail — because federal law still trumps state law. “Several states with legal medical marijuana have received letters from their respective United States Attorneys offices explaining that marijuana is a Schedule I substance and that the federal government considers growing, distribution, or possession of marijuana to be a federal crime regardless of the state laws. These letters have caused some states to delay or alter implementation of their medical marijuana programs.” 

As a law firm which has helped many people  who are suffering permanently life-altering injures from auto collisions, we have grave concerns about the effect of the legalization of the recreational use of pot on the safety of all drivers.  While alcohol is the predominant substance in fatal crashes, marijuana is the second most frequently found substance in crash-involved drivers, according to a NHTSA study. Alcohol and marijuana are also frequently found together, which results in a dramatic decrease in driving performance and spike in impairment levels.

Another area of strong concern is child safety.  West Virginia leads the nation in accidental prescription pain medicine overdoses.  Although medical professionals seem to agree that it is almost impossible for an adult to overdose on cannabis, the health risks for a young child are very serious.  For more information about the need for tamper-proof packaging for West Virginia’s proposed medical use marijuana, see our post:  http://wvaccidentlawyer.org/2013/04/08/medical-marijuana-in-wv-child-safety-packaging/.

Trends and Current Marijuana News

April 2013:  They are smelling something green on the West Coast, and it’s not necessarily cannabis —  entrepreneurs are smelling money as they position themselves to  be the first to invest in, develop, and market the cultivation, distribution, software tracking, vending machines and vaporizers for legal pot.     

According to Fortune Magazine, the CEO and co-founder of ArcView, a leading cannabis investment group, says:  “A geyser is going to go off, and the question is ‘Which company is going to be on top when it does?’  Business is driving this change.  Where there is money for government, money for investors, and money for entrepreneurs, there is a powerful incentive for change.”   Source:  Fortune Magazine, April 8, 2013:  “Yes We Cannabis” by Roger Parloff.

West Virginia debates Compassionate Medical Marijuana Act. http://www.statejournal.com/story/21829210/speakers-at-public-hearing-advocate-for-medical-marijuana-use-in-wv.

New study highlights the dangers of driving under the influence:  (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130301122256.htm)

January 2013:  Several bring-your-own pot clubs have now opened for business in Colorado.  The first legal pot dens popped up less than a month after Colorado’s governor signed into law a constitutional amendment allowing recreational pot use. Club 64, a club near Denver, gets its name from the number of the amendment.

Colorado’s marijuana amendment prohibits public consumption, and smoke-free laws also appear to ban indoor smokeouts. But Club 64 attorney Robert Corry said private pot dens are permissible because marijuana isn’t sold, nor is it food or drink.  The first marijuana club to open in Colorado has already been shut down. The club in a tiny southern Colorado town of Del Norte opened on Monday, but the lease was not to begin until Tuesday.  The landlord cancelled the pending lease of the club owner after all the publicity came out about the club’s opening.  The club owner stated that their business profit plan included customers from New Mexico who were planning to drive over the state line to participate. 

February 2013:  If a California company has its way, recreational marijuana users in Colorado and Washington state will one day be able to get their pot out of vending machines.

Such machines are already in use in some states where medical marijuana is legal, but now the maker’s founder says the Medbox company is working to adapt the machines to comply with new laws in Colorado and Washington, where adults can legally use marijuana for recreation.

Currently, the vending machines for medicine require a fingerprint scan to verify the identification of the patient, which is then linked to a prescription on file. 

Read more: Colorado’s first marijuana den shut down in landlord dispute – The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_22292647/colorados-first-marijuana-club-shut-down-landlord-dispute#ixzz2GwIGaGzL



From the Robinette Legal Group, PLLC, Call today for free information for WV serious injury victims.  Order your copy of Righting the Wrong:  WV Serious Injury Guide today:  304-594-1800.  We have answers for your questions concerning your serious injury and insurance matters.

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