Gordon T. Ikner, Attorney at Law, for claimant.
Andrew Lopez, Attorney at Law, for respondent.


Claimant seeks an award in the amount of $50,000.00 for personal
injuries incurred when his
1981 Omni Miser was involved in an accident on West Virginia Route 60/6,
Greenbrier County,
West Virginia. The accident occurred on February 27, 1986. Claimant
alleges that respondent's
negligent maintenance of the road was the proximate cause of the

Route 60/6 is also known as Otter Creek Road. It is a dirt and gravel
road off of Route 60
and ending at I-64. During wintertime periods of freezing and thawing,
ruts develop in the road
from use by a school bus and personal vehicles of some 16 families
living along the road.
Claimant's home, where he had lived for about 11 years, is about 7/10 of
a mile from Route 60.
Early in the morning, he had taken five school children out to Route 60
to a Christian school bus
stop. He was returning to his home, at about 8:30 a.m., when his
accident occurred. He
described the road as being about 14 feet wide. He said he had rounded a
sharp curve and was
going up a gentle hill, at a speed of about 15 to 17 miles per hour,
staying out of the ruts, when
his wheels slipped into the ruts and the front of his car hit a tree
which protruded into the side of
the roadway. His car was damaged beyond economical repair. His head hit
the rearview mirror,
and he suffered a severe scalp laceration. On cross examination, he
admitted that he might have
been going 20 miles per hour. Respondent's investigator, Claude Blake,
testified that the
claimant had told him, on July 11, 1986, that he had been travelling 25
miles per hour at the time
of his accident.

Claimant and his wife testified of making complaints to respondent
concerning the condition of
the road during the weeks before the accident.

It is obvious to the Court that Route 60/6 is a secondary road; that
primary, more heavily
travelled roads, must be given priority in maintenance by respondent;
that there is hardly
anything which the respondent could have done, in view of time, weather
and budget limitations,
to alleviate the winter condition of Route 60/6. The Court, therefore,
cannot find the respondent
negligent. The Court is of the opinion that the claimant was negligent
in operating his vehicle at a
speed greater than was reasonable under the circumstances then and there
existing and that this
was the circumstances then and there existing and that this was the
proximate cause of his
accident and injury.

Claim disallowed.