Young Harold woman 'devastated' in car crash at Paintsville, suit says


PAINTSVILLE – August 10, 2006 started as another great summer day for Mary A. Ward of Harold. Young, healthy and with a vibrant enthusiasm for life, according to her family and friends, she could hardly wait to get at it because that day was to be the special day that Mary, age 22, would enroll in that nursing program at Mayo and follow in the footsteps of her mom, Janice Ward.

Everything went as planned at first. Mary drove her Cougar coupe to Paintsville and by 4:00 p.m. she had completed her enrollment, got her class schedule, and started home traveling on KY 321 to the intersection with U.S. 23 at Turner Branch, a place where a tragic accident would spare her young life but would leave her a mere shadow of her former effervescent self.

At 4:53 p.m., according to a report from Paintsville Sheriff’s officer, T. Wyatt, Mary’s little car was struck on U.S. 23 by a big tractor-trailer owned by a South Carolina company and Mary was air-lifted to Saint Mary’s Hospital at Huntington where a team of doctors and nurses fought to keep her alive.

After almost two months at Saint Mary’s and after another several months in a care-giving facility, Mary was able to return home. Now, two years later, Mary remains at the home of her grand parents, Barbara and Fred Kidd at Harold where she receives constant care by them and by her mother, Janice.

According to a civil action filed last week on Mary’s behalf by her mother, Janice Ward, Mary’s injuries were received when a tractor-trailer owned by G & P Trucking of Gaston, South Carolina and operated by George A. Hand of Lithonia, Georgia, crashed into her car, a Cougar coupe, a crash that was caused, according to the complaint filed by Kirk Law Firm, by “excessive speed” of the truck.

The complaint alleged that Officer Wyatt prepared a report of the accident which quoted Katrina Mohl of Lowmansville as “stating that the truck was speeding, as if it came out of nowhere and hit the driver of unit #1.”

Mrs. Mohl’s affidavit, filed with the complaint, states in part, “Affiant was able to see the truck clearly and believes that the truck was traveling at least 80 miles per hour. The affiant believes that had the truck not been speeding there would have been no collision.”

“Mrs. Mohl and her daughter happened to be beside the road and saw everything,” John Kirk said. “Mrs. Mohl reported to the police officer at the scene what she had seen and the officer correctly made the proper notation on the report.”

The complaint seeks damages for past, present and future medical expenses; past, present and future suffering; lost wages and such other compensation as is just as well as a trial by jury.

“This is a tragic thing that happened to a fine and healthy young woman,” Kirk said. “This is a close family and each member carries the pain of what has happened around each day. Mr. and Mrs. Kidd and Mrs. Ward take care of Mary on a constant basis and Janice does likewise, even though she works fulltime as a nurse at a nursing home.

“Mary has a life expectancy of 50 plus years. Given the costs for medical care and other care she will need, it can reasonably be expected that all that will take at least five million dollars,” he added.