George E. Lantz, Attorney at Law, for claimant.
Nancy J. Aliff, Attorney at Law, for respondent.


On June 23, 1985, claimant Nancy C. Duty was travelling in claimant
Donald E. Duty's 1982
Honda Prelude, on Route 2, in Jackson County. The vehicle encountered
loose gravel. Claimant
Nancy Duty lost control of the vehicle on loose gravel present at the
accident site. Claimant's
now seek $50,000.00 for damage to the vehicle and for personal injuries
received by Nancy

Claimant Nancy C. Duty testified that she had driven to Huntington on
Friday evening
preceding the accident to visit her daughter. She was returning to
Parkersburg on the following
Sunday. She left Huntington at approximately 7:30 a.m. Her speed was
approximately 50 miles
per hour. The weather was clear and dry. She regularly operates the
Honda Prelude and
considers it to be "her car," although the vehicle is titled in claimant
Donald E. Duty's name. She
observed a "Tar" sign tossed to the side of the road about a mile to a
mile and one-half before
the vehicle struck the gravel. The vehicle then swerved to the right,
proceeded to the opposite
side of the road, hit an embankment, and turned over. As a result of the
accident, she sustained a
broken vertebrate and crushed or compressed vertebras. She is a
registered nurse and, as a
result of this accident, she lost six weeks of work without pay. Her
rate of pay was $7.15 per
hour. She still experiences back discomfort.

Claimant Donald E. Duty testified that he drove from Parkersburg to the
accident site on the
morning of this incident. He felt that the road was "slippery," but he
did not attribute the status of
the road to gravel until he was informed of same. He had owned the
Prelude for only three
months. He paid $6,000.00 for it. In addition, he traded in a vehicle
worth $1,000.00 to
$2,000.00. The accident vehicle was beyond repair. He sold the damaged
vehicle for $500.00.

Raymond Daniel Bush, who has a residence near the accident scene,
assisted Mrs. Duty after
the incident. Her vehicle came to rest across from his home. He
testified that respondent had
performed work on the roadway on the Saturday prior to this incident. He
described the gravel
on the road as being "pea gravel." "... they put tar and I call it pea
gravel from just north of
Millwood to the intersection of Mt. Alto on Saturday." This is about a
four-mile stretch. After
claimant's accident, Mr. Bush travelled this stretch of Route 2 on his
way to church. He
described the surface of Route 2 as follows: "I would explain it if you
threw a bunch of marbles
on the floor and stepped on them, you're going to scoot, aren't you?" He
also stated, "There was
a 40-mile-an-hour speed limit sign, I would say, halfway between the end
of my driveway and
where her car stopped going south on 2, and coming north on 2 there is a
40 mile an hour speed
limit sign what, 150 yards beyond the intersection, something like that."
Employees of respondent also testified. Harry Robert Miller, Jr. stated
that respondent
worked on Route 2 on June 22, 1985. Surface treating was performed.
There was a slight
amount of excess gravel left on the road, but had brooms were utilized
to remove the excess
gravel before respondent's crew departed. He stated that the speed limit
through the area of the
accident was 40 mile per hour on June 23, 1985. Claude Blake, Chief
Investigator for
respondent, visited the site on July 8, 1987. He stated that there was a
40 mile per hour speed
limit prior to the intersection, and a 55 mile per hour speed limit
beyond the location of Mrs.
Duty's accident. Mr. Blake could not personally confirm that these speed
limit signs were
present at the time of this accident.

The record reveals that gravel was removed from this area of Route 2
prior to the day of
Nancy Duty's accident. The Court is of the opinion that the speed of the
vehicle was the
proximate cause of the accident and the resulting injuries to Nancy
Duty. The Court is of the
opinion to, and accordingly must, deny this claim.

Claim disallowed.

Judge Gracey did not participate in the hearing or decision of this