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The family of a Charleston attorney who died in a car crash over the summer is suing American Electric Power and two auto auction companies claiming their negligence led to the crash that killed him.

Ana Marino, widow of Sean McGinley, filed the lawsuit against four AEP entities and the auction companies claiming the companies have no proof they completed the proper maintenance checks and inspections on the AEP truck that blew out a tire, causing the truck to crash into McGinley’s car on Interstate 79 on June 3.

Specifically, Marino claims in the lawsuit that AEP, Mountain State Auto Auction, and Capital City Auto Auction shouldn’t have authorized an auto auction employee to drive the truck on I-79 when the truck’s “serious and dangerous” defects had not been addressed.

In addition to the auto auction companies, the defendants in the case are AEP, AEP Kentucky Power Company, and AEP Transmission.

Marino filed the wrongful death lawsuit in Kanawha Circuit Court. The case has been assigned to Judge Joanna Tabit.

Marino is seeking unspecified damages on behalf of her husband’s estate, which includes her, she and McGinley’s two teenage sons, McGinley’s sister, and his parents.

Representing McGinley’s estate are his former law partners, Tim DiPiero, Lonnie Simmons, and Bob Bastress, all with the firm DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress PLLC in Charleston.

The 14-year-old AEP pole digger truck was traveling northbound on Interstate 79 on June 3 when it “veered into the median” and into the southbound lanes, striking McGinley’s vehicle. Emergency responders determined McGinley dead at the scene of the crash, near the 48 mile marker, between a rest area along I-79 and the Frametown exit.

The truck was en route to Shinnston to be sold at auction. McGinley was traveling from Morgantown to Charleston, according to the lawsuit.

Maintenance and inspection documents as to the safety and driveability of the truck either don’t exist or are inconsistent, according to the lawsuit.

A maintenance document for the truck from May 24 notes “Driveable? N.,” attorneys said in the lawsuit. A vehicle pick-up authorization document from May 26 notes “Driveable – Y Keys: Y Runs: Y.”

Both of the documents were maintained by AEP, attorneys said.

“... there is no indication in these documents as to what, if anything, occurred between May 24 to May 26 to render this truck from not being drivable to being drivable,” the attorneys said in the lawsuit.

At the time of the lawsuit, there was no documentation available to the plaintiffs from AEP or the auction companies that anyone performed a pre-auction inspection on the truck.

“This pre-trip inspection is designed not only to protect the driver, but also to protect the other drivers on the public highways,” the lawsuit says.

The attorneys said a pre-trip inspection would have revealed that the truck had been poorly maintained and that its tires were in poor condition, worn, mismatched and grossly under-inflated.

The driver of the AEP truck told West Virginia State Police he felt the tire blow out before the truck veered across the 180-yard median and into the southbound lanes of I-79.

The data from McGinley’s car indicated he slowed down from 67 miles per hour to 14 miles per hour and steered toward the right berm of the interstate before the truck crashed into his vehicle, the attorneys said in the lawsuit.

AEP representatives did not respond to a request for comment for this story Thursday afternoon.

Lacie Pierson covers politics. She can be reached at 304-348-1723 or lacie.pierson@hdmediallc.com. Follow @laciepierson on Twitter.

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