County gets more time

Wrongful death suit response delayed

By Andy Winemiller -

DOBSON — The mother of a 2014 suicide victim will have to wait a little longer for the response in her case against multiple first responders.

The defendants in Terena Dawn Wood’s case against officials from the State Road Volunteer Fire Department and Surry County EMS have asked for more time to respond to Wood’s negligent death lawsuit.

The request was granted by officials in the Surry County Clerk of Court’s office.

Attorney Samuel H. Poole, who is representing county EMS officials, the fire department and three fire officials, noted his defendants did not receive Wood’s complaint until June 7. Poole will have until Aug. 5 to file an answer.

Charlotte attorney Andrew J. Santaniello filed a similar request for former State Road fire department member Michael Bryan Cochran. Cochran, who is center stage in Wood’s suit, will get until July 5 to file an answer.

Cochran’s wife, who appears to be representing herself, was granted an extension as well. With the extension, she had until June 26 to file an answer. On June 28 no answer from Rhonda Cochran was included in the case file.

Dawn Wood filed suit against both county and State Road fire officials in March. Her daughter, Megan Danielle Wood, was 26 years old when she committed suicide in 2014.

According to Wood’s complaint, which asks for more than $25,000 in relief, an emergency medical technician (EMT) for the volunteer fire department was negligent when he failed to report Megan Wood’s directly stated ambitions of suicide to emergency response personnel who could have helped her.

Dawn Wood also alleges EMT Michael Bryan Cochran, 39, was having an extra-marital sexual relationship with her daughter, and when that relationship fell apart, the young woman, who suffered from depression, was driven to take her own life.

Wood also claims the fire department was negligent in hiring Cochran, who pleaded guilty to two counts of indecent liberty with a child in 1999. Department leadership also aided Cochran in getting his EMT certification, despite knowing of his sex offender past.

No pleading, answer or motion for extension from State Road assistant fire chief Kevin Cheek, who allegedly accompanied Cochran to the appeal hearing in which Cochran was granted his EMT certification, is included in the case file.

Wrongful death suit response delayed

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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