Gregory W. Evers, Attorney at Law for claimants.
Andrew Lopez, Attorney at Law, for respondent.


On October 1, 1981, at approximately 10:00 p.m., claimant Frieda
Leggett was driving south
on Interstate 77 at approximately 45-50 miles per hour near Ripley,
Jackson County. I-77 is a
four-lane highway. On the date in question, the right lane of the two
southbound lanes was
closed as employees of respondent were performing maintenance. Claimant
Frieda Leggett was
driving a 1976 Ford Granada titled in both her own name and that of her
husband, William

As she approached the construction area, she stated that she observed a
"Keep Right" sign
and black barrels placed across the right lane. Claimant Frieda Leggett
then went to the left lane
and drove for approximately a mile or a mile and a half. She said she
saw an opening and on
down, about 100 feet, a car in the right lane. She said she saw the
car's tail lights and thought that
this was where she was supposed to turn. She said she did not see any
barrels ahead of her and
saw nothing which prevented her from the switching from the left to the
right lane. She
straightened up in the right lane and drove into an excavated hole. She
estimated this hole to be
three or four feet deep. Claimants asked for an award in the amount of
$75,000 incident to
property damages and personal injuries.

The investigating trooper, Michael Bright, an employee of the
Department of Public Safety,
testified that orange-colored barrels were clearly in evidence in the
construction area. However,
he had measured a distance of 282 feet between barrels where the vehicle
had moved from the
left lane to the right lane. He did not remember seeing any warning
signs and did not observe a
'Keep Right" sign. Claude Blake, respondent's investigator, testified
that he had made an error, in
his answers to interrogatories, when he listed the presence of two "Keep
Right' signs in the
construction area; that his answer should have been that there were two
'Keep Left" signs. He
was unable to provide documentation to support this correction.

Three different employees testified that they participated in placing
orange and white-colored
barrels at a distance of 50-60 feet apart in the area of construction on
I-77 near Ripley on
September 24, 1981 in accordance with the Case 20 Diagram in a Traffic
Control Manual. In
addition, warning signs were placed at that time. William R. Whited, an
employee of respondent,
testified that on October 1, 1981, he was working at patching holes on
I-77 near Ripley. He did
not observe either a 'Keep Right' sign nor any barrels with a distance
of 282 feet between them.
James Kiser, a general foreman with respondent in October, 1981,
testified that he was working
on the concrete patching on October 1, 1981 and 60 days prior to October
1, 1981. He did not
observe barrels out of place, nor a "Keep Right' sign on I-77 near

Testimony failed to establish negligence on the part of the respondent.
The barrels and warning
signs were placed in accordance with respondent's regulations.

It is the opinion of the Court that the evidence in this claim does not
establish such negligence
on the part of the respondent as to justify an award.

Claim disallowed.