A Logan man was fired from his job this week after he posted a Facebook video of state Sen. Richard Ojeda, D-Logan, illegally passing another vehicle on W.Va. 10.
The man, David Woolsey, supported Ojeda’s opponent in the 2016 state Senate race and is working for a candidate competing with Ojeda for the Democratic nomination for Congress in the 3rd Congressional District.
Woolsey filmed Ojeda and his signature red Jeep from the passenger seat of a McCormick’s Furniture truck as he and his co-worker drove to Huntington for a delivery. He posted the video on Friday. Later that night, Ojeda posted his own video response, where he admitted to being the one driving in Woolsey’s video.
“I did wrong, I passed in the double yellow but it was because of the driving in front of me,” Ojeda said in a phone interview Wednesday afternoon. “I knew who it was in that truck, and I knew what he was trying to do, so I went around him.”
Ojeda said the McCormick’s truck — which was being driven by another man, John Miller — was driving erratically by speeding up and slowing down unpredictably. In Ojeda’s video, he called out McCormick’s for having an employee drive like that, and said he would go to the business personally to talk about the incident.
David McCormick, the owner, said Ojeda called him on Saturday, apologizing for putting the business in the middle of the incident and explaining his perspective. Ojeda said all he told McCormick was, “There are two sides to every story.”
McCormick said the decision to fire Woolsey came after several incidents that violated the company’s rules, the latest being Woolsey’s choice to film Ojeda while in a McCormick’s truck. Woolsey admitted that his driving privileges were terminated at the company, and that he received a DUI in his personal vehicle about two years ago, but said neither of those circumstances were related to his firing.
McCormick remained adamant that Woolsey’s firing was “in no way political.”
“This has been blown totally out of proportion — Saturday was the first and only conversation I’ve ever had with Senator Ojeda,” McCormick said. “We have rules here everyone has to abide by, this termination has nothing to do with politics and nothing to do with Ojeda. I just know an employee of mine was violating our policies, and if you let that happen time and time again — well, you just can’t.”
Woolsey, however, said McCormick told him he was “interfering with a federal election,” but the main reason he was fired was for filming the incident in a McCormick’s truck. McCormick said Woolsey’s decision to film was a violation of company policy; Woolsey said that was the first he’d heard of such a policy.
“If I had made that video of anyone else, I would still have my job. This wouldn’t have happened if it were just Joe Schmoe, you know,” Woolsey said. “The minute [Ojeda] called out McCormick’s, it was over for me. Think of the business Dave [McCormick] can lose by having someone like Senator Ojeda call them out like that.”
Ojeda and Woolsey both said they already knew each other before the incident. Ojeda said Woolsey supported then-Sen. Art Kirkendoll, D-Logan, over Ojeda in 2016’s state Senate primary.
Today, Woolsey is supporting Delegate Shirley Love, D-Fayette, by passing out campaign materials like hats and signs. Love is competing against Ojeda in May’s primary election.
“He’s been throwing stones at me for years,” Ojeda said of Woolsey.
Woolsey said he actually supported Ojeda until a personal conflict arose between them.
Ojeda said that despite their differences, he was disappointed to hear that someone was out of a job.
“This would be a dangerous situation, something of concern, if it was political at all, if it was my political influence, but it wasn’t,” Ojeda said. “I don’t even know if [McCormick or the business] supports me. I don’t think this was political at all.”