Kanawha deputy’s crash leads to $1.5 million settlement

Gazette-Mail file photo
Charleston Police investigate the scene at Hemingway Place, where a Kanawha County sheriff’s deputy crashed through a security gate and into a garage injuring two people in 2014.

A woman who was injured in 2014 when a Kanawha County sheriff’s deputy crashed his cruiser into a Charleston townhouse has settled out of court for $1.5 million.

The settlement between Samme Gee and Kanawha sheriff’s deputy Shawn Layne, the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office, the Kanawha County Commission and the Charter Oak Fire Insurance company was finalized Thursday. County Commission President Kent Carper said the amount is the highest settlement he’s seen during the time he’s worked for the county.

Gee, an attorney with Jackson Kelly, was injured in late 2014 when Layne crashed his cruiser through a gate and into a townhouse at Hemingway Place, a subdivision off Greenbrier Street in Charleston. Gee was in the townhouse’s garage at the time. Both she and Layne were sent to the hospital.

A report from the Charleston Police Department, which investigated the wreck, said Layne was going 20 miles an hour over the posted 50 mph speed limit, and that he accelerated for three seconds just before crashing into the townhouse.

Charleston Police Sgt. Randy Sampson said at the time Layne was heading north on Greenbrier Street on his way to a domestic violence call on Rutledge Road when he left the road and smashed into the garage, where Gee was unloading groceries from her car. She had just entered the townhouse and was injured by debris from the crash, including head and facial injuries, Sampson said.

At the time, Sampson said that Layne had no recollection of how he lost control of his cruiser, but he remembered trying to regain control of the car.

“I don’t know what it was that caused it,” Sampson said at the time. “I don’t know if it was driver error, a mechanical problem, medical problem, whatever. We just can’t find anything to concretely tell us it was one thing or another.”

Jackson Kelly attorney Tom Hurney represented Gee in the case.

“We had a long negotiation with the county regarding settlement and we reached what we believe is a fair result and we are satisfied with the settlement,” Hurney said last week.

Carper apologized for the incident.

“[Gee] was terribly hurt and this never should have happened, and on behalf of the county I’m terribly sorry that it did happen,” Carper said.

A spokesman for the sheriff’s office, where Layne is still employed, declined to comment.

Reach Lori Kersey at

lori.kersey@wvgazettemail.com,

304-348-1240 or follow

@LorikerseyWV on Twitter.

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