WV terminal sued over coal truck fatality

| 8/12/2002

The daughter of a woman killed in an accident involving two coal trucks last fall has sued the Kanawha River Terminals, the coal dock where one of the trucks was headed, the Charleston Gazette reports.

The accident initiated a legislative debate about overweight trucks. Efforts to pass a new law to increase legal weight limits to 120,000 pounds and toughen enforcement failed in July when the House of Delegates voted 48-47 to take all weight limit increases out of the proposal.

The accident happened Sept. 6 when an overweight coal truck hit a car driven by Mary Ellen Justice and her brother, Jimmy Nelson. They were killed instantly. The truck, which weighed 165,000 pounds, spun the car into the path of an empty coal truck. The maximum legal weight is 73,500 pounds.

The suit alleges Kanawha River Terminals and its officers "negligently, carelessly and recklessly encouraged and participated in the overloading of the 2000 Peterbilt tractor-trailer ... by receiving and paying for coal that was knowingly delivered in illegally overweight coal trucks."