Lawsuit accuses State Road fire officials of wrongdoing in 2014 suicide

By Andy Winemiller -

DOBSON — A local resident is claiming officials from an area volunteer fire department should have acted to stop her daughter’s suicide.

In a complaint filed in March, Teresa Dawn Wood claims a husband and wife duo affiliated with the State Road Volunteer Fire Department failed to follow protocol when they learned of the suicidal ambitions of her daughter, Megan Danielle Wood.

The complaint states Megan Wood called Michael Bryan and Rhonda Cochran on the evening of May 25, 2014, to express her suicidal thoughts — thoughts prompted by an extra-marital relationship with the couple. While on the phone with the couple, Megan Wood shot herself in the chest with a 12-gauge shotgun.

Teresa Wood’s complaint alleges the couple failed in their duties as officials of the fire department when they failed to alert authorities about Megan Wood’s situation, leading to a wrongful death claim against the department, the Cochrans and Surry County Emergency Services.

The complaint states the couple’s failure to act violated the fire department’s policies and the training Michael Cochran received as an emergency medical technician (EMT).

Wood’s complaint also calls Michael Cochran’s EMT certification and his membership in the fire department to question, alleging the department was negligent in allowing Cochran to become a member and backing Cochran’s removal from the state’s sex offender registry for the purposes being allowed to attain his EMT certification.

Cochran was sentenced to probation in 1999 on two counts of indecent liberty with a child, a class F felony.

Furthermore, Wood alleges the Cochrans, through their sexual relationship with her daughter, caused negligent infliction of emotional distress to Megan Wood, who was a recent college graduate and 26-years-old at the time she ended her own life.

Wood is asking for damages in excess of $25,000 in Superior Court.

According to the Surry County Clerk of Court’s office, the court has yet to receive notification the complaint has been served to all parties named in the suit, which include county EMS, a number of officials from the State Road Volunteer Fire Department and the Cochrans. Thus, no hearing has been set in the matter.

County Attorney Ed Woltz confirmed the county’s receipt of the complaint and stated the complaint had been turned over to the county’s liability agent.

Additional information will be reported as it becomes available.

By Andy Winemiller

Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.

Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.

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