Warren R. McGraw, Attorney at Law, for claimants.
Nancy J. Aliff, Attorney at Law, for respondent.


Claimants were travelling in a northerly direction on W.Va. Route 10,
Wyoming County,
approximately five miles from Oceana. Claimant Leona Kay Cline was
operating claimants'
1980 AMC, and her husband, Randy Cline, was a passenger in the vehicle.

Claimants' vehicle left the right hand or travel lane of the highway,
skidded, slid around, and
struck a 1974 Oldsmobile 442 which was proceeding south on W.Va. Route
10. Following the
impact with the automobile travelling in the opposite direction,
claimants' vehicle proceeded over
an embankment. Claimants allege negligence on the part of respondent for
its failure to maintain
this section of roadway. Claimants contend that respondent's employees
had left dirt in the road
while maintaining the ditch line. Claimants view the alleged dirt or
debris on the roadway as a
hazard and seek compensation of $25,000.00 for the loss of their
automobile and for permanent
disabling injuries to claimant Leona Cline.

Respondent asserts that ditching operations were performed by
respondent three days prior to
this accident, on June 24, 1986, by means of accepted engineering
practice, and that material
was not left on the highway by its ditching crew.

Claimant Leona Kay Cline was travelling at a speed of approximately
35-45 miles per hour.
She had successfully completed her driving test at Jesse, and was
returning home. The roadway
was damp as it had been raining. Both claimants admitted that they had
no personal knowledge
as to how the alleged material came to be on the roadway surface as they
had not observed
respondent's men working at the scene. The claimants' vehicle was a
total loss, and they gave it
to another party. Therefore, claimants did not receive any salvage value
for the vehicle.

Ezra Watson Keyser testified that he was the driver of the other
automobile involved in this
accident. He was travelling alone from his home in Lincoln County to
Princeton. He estimated
that the accident occurred between 2:00 and 3:00 in the afternoon. He
stated that he did not
observe any dirt on his side of the roadway. He mentioned that
photographic evidence revealed
debris on his automobile. He was unable to discern whether it was debris
from the roadway or
debris from his automobile.

Respondent's employees provided details concerning the area of the
accident. At the time of
this accident, the average daily traffic count was 5,100. The Uniform
Traffic Accident reports
and operators' reports were reviewed, and it was determined that the
Cline accident was the
only one within the two-mile stretch checked during June 24, 1986, on
Route 10 at the accident
site. The individual who operated the 40137, or back grader, confirmed
the existence of the
ditching operations and remembered that a broom had been utilized. The
Supervisor for
Wyoming County did not receive any complaints concerning the ditching
operation. Testimony
revealed that it is impossible to determine the points where crews start
and finish maintenance
operations from the pertinent records regarding ditching operations by

To make a determination of respondent's negligence would require
speculation on the part of
the Court. This Court has consistently held that the State is neither an
insurer nor a guarantor of
the safety of persons travelling its highways. Adkins vs. Sims, 130
W.Va. 645, 46 S.E.2d 81
(1947). There was no evidence presented that respondent was negligent in
its maintenance of
this roadway. In order to find respondent liable, the Court would be
required to speculate,
which it will not do. The Court, therefore, is of the opinion to and
does deny the claim.

Claim disallowed.