Parents make their case to Point council

Beth Sergent

June 11, 2014

POINT PLEASANT — The parents of a 21-year old Point Pleasant woman who lost her life in an automobile accident have gained support from the city of Point Pleasant in their quest to get the state Legislature to revisit an existing law or create a new one.

Brenda and Rusty Nott appeared before council this week, asking for its written support. The Nott’s daughter, Sarah, died in March as a result of injuries she received in a traffic accident on W.Va. 2.

The Notts told council about the accident — one they feel could have been prevented. The Notts told council Sarah was preparing to exit the parking lot of a convenience store in Gallipolis Ferry, attempting to make a left turn to travel southbound on W.Va. 2 to see a friend. The Notts say Sarah’s vision was blocked by vehicles parked “lengthwise” near the highway. Specifically, the Notts said there were two large trucks from Frontier Communications and an unidentified semi-truck parked in the area.

The Notts told council Sarah could not see the oncoming truck traveling in the northbound lane of W.Va. 2 when she pulled out of the parking lot with a car waiting to pull out behind her as well. The Notts said once Sarah was out in the road, they believe she then tried to avoid the oncoming truck, but the truck steered into her lane and made contact with Sarah’s vehicle despite her efforts to get out of the way.

The Notts are asking local legislators to either amend the existing law that addresses parking in a state right-of-way and therefore possibly blocking the line of sight for drivers, or to create a new law preventing it. Currently, the West Virginia Code, section 17C-13-3, subsection 18, addresses stopping or parking being prohibited in specific places — this includes “at any place on any highway where the safety and convenience of the traveling public is thereby endangered.”

The state’s right-of-way is 25 feet from the center line of the highway, according to local law enforcement. However, the existing law is open to interpretation. It should also be noted that none of the drivers of the parked cars were cited in the accident.

Brenda told council it is up to the state Legislature to look at the existing law or make up a new one, but it first had to be convinced this is a problem — not just in Mason County but across the state.

Brenda also presented council with a letter signed by the Mason County Commission supporting her and her husband’s efforts. Rusty also spoke to council about the white lines on either side of the highway, the state’s right-of-way and the issue of people parking within that right-of-way.

The Notts have also been circulating a petition about their efforts around local communities, gaining signatures and Brenda reported state Sen. Mike Hall agreed to present the petition, and letters of support, to the transportation committee for consideration.