Retired Wood County circuit judge dies in crash

Parkersburg News and Sentinel photo by Gretchen Richards The two-vehicle wreck Thursday afternoon resulted in the death of former Wood County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Douglass, officials said. One other person was in fair condition at Camden Clark Medical Center Thursday evening
Parkersburg News and Sentinel photo by Gretchen Richards The two-vehicle wreck Thursday afternoon resulted in the death of former Wood County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Douglass, officials said. One other person was in fair condition at Camden Clark Medical Center Thursday evening
Parkersburg News and Sentinel photo by Gretchen Richards
The two-vehicle wreck Thursday afternoon resulted in the death of former Wood County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Douglass, officials said. One other person was in fair condition at Camden Clark Medical Center Thursday evening

VIENNA, W.Va. — Former Wood County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Douglass died Thursday in a two-vehicle accident at the intersection of Rosemar Road and Millstone Drive in Vienna, officials said.

Douglass, 85, of Vienna, a retired circuit court judge, died at the scene of the accident, said Mike Deem with the Wood County Crash Investigation Team.

The investigation was still ongoing Thursday night, but early reports indicated the wreck was caused by an unspecified medical issue on Douglass’s part, Deem said.

The crash was called in at 5:24 p.m., said operators at the Wood County 911 Center.

Douglass was driving a silver vehicle, make and model unknown, northbound in the 3500 block of Rosemar Road when he lost control of the vehicle, Deem said.

Douglass veered left of the center line and struck the 2004 two-door Honda, model unknown, driven by Seth Flowers, 25, of Vienna, Deem said.

The vehicles impacted in a “not quite head-on” fashion in the southbound lane, Deem said.

Douglass’s vehicle landed upside down, facing south, on the side of Rosemar Road. Flowers’s Honda came to rest with its hood under Douglass’s trunk.

Both drivers were alone in their vehicles when the wreck happened, Deem said.

Flowers was taken to Camden Clark Medical Center for injuries he sustained in the wreck, Deem said.

Flowers was in fair condition Thursday evening, said Tim Brunicardi, director of marketing and communications at CCMC.

The Vienna Volunteer Fire Department, the Wood County Crash Investigation Team and the Vienna Police Department responded to the scene.

Rosemar Road was closed from the intersection with Timberline Parkway to beyond Millstone Drive for more than two hours Thursday evening while the accident was investigated.

Douglass was a Wood County Circuit Court judge from 1986 to 1994, when he retired to senior status, records showed.

He graduated from the West Virginia University School of Law in 1953. Douglass joined the Wood County Republican Executive Committee and was party secretary under five chairmen before becoming chairman in 1972, a post he held until 1984.

Douglass received the William P.A. Nicely Award for Lifetime Achievement in October 2009, records said.

Douglass was a 50-year member of Masonic Lodge 172 and an elder at the First Presbyterian Church in Parkersburg, records said.

Douglass would go to the Wood County Courthouse every Thursday and most Tuesdays to sit in on hearings in Circuit Court Judge J.D. Beane’s courtroom, Beane said Thursday night.

“He was a kind person who liked helping people,” Beane said. “He strove to be fair toward every person who came before him,” Beane said.

Beane enjoyed talking with Douglass between hearings, he said.

“I had a chance to sit and listen to him tell stories about his life,” Beane said. “It was amazing; he would tell the same story years later and the details were always exactly the same,” Beane said.

Douglass was in Beane’s courtroom on Thursday afternoon, before the wreck that ended his life, Beane said.

“It just won’t be the same without him sitting there anymore,” Beane said.

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