William L. Jacobs, Attorney at Law, for claimant.
Robert D. Pollitt, Assistant Attorney General, for respondent.


Claimant Lonnie Edward Farley brought this claim to recover damages for
personal injuries
which he received in an accident which occurred when he was being
transported in a van
operated by an employee of the respondent. Claimant alleges that the
accident occurred due to
negligence on the part of the driver of the vehicle.

The accident occurred on April 17, 1975, while claimant was being
transported from
Moundsville, West Virginia to Huttonsville, West Virginia. At the time
of the accident, claimant
was incarcerated at Huttonsville Correctional Facility. He was shackled
to another inmate, Albert
Martin. There were three other inmates in the vehicle and two guards,
one of whom was
operating the vehicle. The vehicle was described as being a large
capacity van with seating
available for 12-16 passengers. The seats were arranged similar to a
mini-bus, i.e., seats for two
individuals on each side with an aisle between the seats. There was a
screen partition between
the front seat for the driver and the ear seats. Claimant was sitting in
the second seat on the left
behind the driver of the van. There was two inmates in the first seats.
Claimant testified that the
driver was operating the van at a high rate of speed. He stated that he
requested the driver to
slow down. He also indicated that he viewed the speedometer by standing
up and looking over
two passengers and through the screen partition. The speedometer reading
was between 80 and
85 miles per hour. He indicated that the other inmates "were screaming
to Mr. Nestor trying to
get him to slow down... ." The accident occurred south of Philippi, West
Virginia, on W.Va.
Route 250, at approximately 5:00 to 5:30 p.m., when a vehicle
approaching in the northbound
lane veered into the southbound lane striking first a pickup truck and
then the van in which
claimant was a passenger. The van rolled over and ended up on its top.
The claimant and other
passengers crawled through a window. Claimant was taken to the hospital
for treatment of a
broken collarbone.

The testimony of the driver of the van, Robert C. Nestor, indicated
that he was operating the
van at approximately 45-50 miles per hour when he observed a station
wagon approaching in
the northbound lane ver suddenly into the southbound lane. It struck a
pickup truck and then hit
the van which Mr. Nestor stated he had driven partially onto the berm in
an attempt to avoid a

The police report prepared by the investigating officer, Stephen B.
Cross, was placed into
evidence by the parties. This report reveals that the northbound
vehicle, for unknown reasons,
left the proper lane and struck both the pickup truck and the van in
which claimant was a
passenger. No improper driving on the part of respondent's employee was
noted in the report.

The Court, having reviewed the evidence, is of the opinion that the
accident in which claimant
was injured was not proximately caused by any negligence on the part of
employee. Therefore, the Court must deny this claim.

Claim disallowed.