Roadwork likely cause of mudslide in Madison Creek

The state Department of Transportation is rerouting W.Va. 10 to the area above the collapsed hillside as part of a long-term roads project. It is also expanding the road to four lanes.

DOT officials say that it’s impossible to pin the slide on one cause, but that it was probably the combination of the construction and the consistent rain.

“I’m sure there’s a lot of people that had mixed opinions about that. You ask the people in the community and they’ll tell you straight up it was the result of the construction,” said Brent Walker, director of communications for DOT. “Four days of rain were enough to have concern about any hill.”

Walker said that there have been about 20 recent slides in the area.

A spokesman for Vecellio & Grogan, a Beckley-based contractor working on that stretch of road, declined to comment, deferring to DOT.

“We can’t really put total cause on one thing,” said Carrie Bly, a DOT spokeswoman. “We are working up there, we’re not denying that, but the weather that we had certainly contributed.”

Fatal crashes in Clay, Tucker counties claim four lives

West Virginia metronews reports the following:

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Four people are dead and several others injured following separate traffic accidents Wednesday morning in West Virginia.

State Troopers said a Clay County teenager was killed in pick-up truck crash on Route 36 near Wallback. Kara Conley, 17, was one of 11 young people in the truck. They ranged in age from 14 to 20.

Several of the injured were taken to Charleston Area Medical Center. The driver has been identified as Isaac Murphy, 18.

The wreck happened at about 4 a.m.

Three people are dead, including two children, in an early Wednesday morning accident in Tucker County.

State Police told MetroNews the victims were traveling on U.S. Route 219 south of Thomas at about 5 a.m. when their car went left of center and collided with a large service truck.

Troopers believe the driver, a 20-year-old man, fell asleep at the wheel and tried to correct but didn’t get back across the center line in time. The truck struck the car in the side.

The victims are a girl, 8, her brother, 7, and the driver, 20. State Police said the man was the boyfriend of the mother, 29.  The mother and a third child, 6, were taken to Ruby Memorial Hospital and are in critical condition.

State Troopers say the family is from Elkins and was returning from a funeral of the children’s grandfather in Maryland.

Source:Fatal crashes in Clay, Tucker counties claim four lives

Deadly ATV crash in Wyoming County

West Virginia metronews reports the following:

WYOMING COUNTY, W.Va. — A Sunday evening ATV accident claimed the life of a 25-year-old Wyoming County woman.

The Wyoming County Sheriff’s Department said Brittany Phillips, of Herndon, died at the scene of the crash on Bud Mountain Road. She was a passenger on the all-terrain vehicle that crashed around 6 p.m.

Deputies said the driver of the ATV, Barrett Johnson, 32, of Ravencliff, was injured and hospitalized.

The investigation continued as of Monday.

Source: Deadly ATV crash in Wyoming County


Alcohol believed a factor in fatal Charleston crash

West Virginia metronews reports the following:

An eyewitness to a fatal collision Thursday morning on I-77 in Charleston tells police the victim had no chance of avoiding the wreck.

Kanawha County sheriff’s deputies say Edward Pete Bryant, 48, of Big Chimney was on his way to work when the crash happened about 2:30am.   The collision happened in the southbound lanes of the interstate just north of the Charleston city limits at the Westmoreland exit.

“This man was just on his way to work, minding his own business traveling down the interstate and all of the sudden there was a car right in front of him,” said Captain Sean Crosier of the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department.  “According to our eyewitness, there was really nothing he could have done to avoid the collision.”

Crosier said Bryant was passing a semi and traveling between the rig and the barrier wall when the car came straight at him.

“His vision was somewhat obscured, and possibly it came upon him so fast he just saw it at the last second,”  said Crosier.

Driving the approaching car was Angela Walker, 46, of Charleston.   Crosier said they believe she was probably driving drunk.

“We’re fairly confident alcohol had some factor in this accident,” said Crosier. “She was going the wrong way and apparently had been for some time, down below the exit.”

Investigators are unsure where Walker got onto the interstate.  He’s almost certain it wasn’t the Westmoreland exit because of the position of the wreck.   It would mean she had been traveling the wrong way for some distance either from Interstate 64 or possibly the Leon Sullivan Way exit or beyond more than a mile away.   Charleston Police had a report of a vehicle traveling the wrong way, but didn’t find her in time.

“We’re not sure where she came from,” said Crosier. “We’re hoping somebody in the public will reach out to us and tell us where she was before she got onto the interstate.”

Walker remains hospitalized at CAMC.

Source: Alcohol believed a factor in fatal Charleston crash


Semi-truck crosses Median Causing Accident

West Virginia metronews reports the following:

Kanawha County authorities have identified the victims in a fatal accident from Tuesday night on U.S. Route 119.

Sheriff’s deputies say Brittany Sowards, 16, of Sumerco was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident near the Kanawha-Lincoln County line.

Investigators say the car, in which the teen was a passenger, was struck by a semi-truck headed in the opposite direction.  The truck, hauling lumber, struck the barrier on a bridge, crossed the median, flipped over, and crashed into the oncoming car.

The truck driver is identified as David McCarter, 58, of Wellston, Ohio.   The driver of the car was Betty Sowards, 38, of Sumerco.  Both McCarter and Sowards are hospitalized at CAMC.

The cause of the wreck remains under investigation.

Source: Lincoln Co. teenager killed in Kanawha Co. crash


The cost of West Virginia’s Marcellus gas ‘invasion’

From Coal Tatoo Blog: Full source listed below

Remember when U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller held a congressional field hearing about natural gas development in West Virginia’s Marcellus Shale region and one local sheriff likened the drilling boom to an “invasion”? That was Marshall County Sheriff  John Gruzinskas and he told lawmakers at that April 2012 hearing:

Since Marshall County is already an industrial county, we thought we have seen these surges in industry come and go. We were never prepared for the onslaught of heavy trucks that would monopolize our roads, damage our property, and destroy our roads. These trucks travel our roads all hours of the day and night. The drivers are not from here so they do not care what happens as a result of their reckless operation. Our roads are destroyed from these overloaded vehicles. And our state is a willing participant in this destruction.

The sheriff continued:

The majority of our complaints of traffic crashes are hit and run crashes, and large trucks running off the road. What we have experienced is that most of the companies sub-contracted by the gas drillers are from southern and western states. The drivers are not familiar with our winding narrow roads. This makes for a bad combination for our local oncoming traffic. Many of our residents are run off the road by the large trucks. Although we try and educate our residents to get as much information as possible about the offender, so we can take enforcement action, it is difficult for them to do that as they try to keep from going over the hill.

And now this week, we have this terrible news out of Harrison County, as reported by The Associated Press (and originally reported by the Clarksburg paper here and here and WDTV here and above):

Investigators are looking into a driver’s report that his brakes failed before his water tanker collided with a car and killed two Clarksburg children.

The boys, 7 and 8 years old, died in a weekend crash with a T&S Trucking tanker loaded with brine water from a gas drilling operation. It happened on a U.S. 50 off-ramp.

Clarksburg Police Chief Marshall Goff said the boys’ mother is Lucretia Mazzei, 49. The boys attended Adamston Elementary. Harrison County sent counselors there and to other schools Monday to help children cope.

The truck driver hasn’t been identified or charged. Goff said the driver told police his brakes didn’t work properly, but a preliminary investigation suggests they weren’t an issue.

T&S Trucking is based in Mineral Wells. The company didn’t immediately return messages.

Source WV gazette, Ken Ward Jr.  The costs of West Virginia’s Marcellus gas ‘invasion’


Huntington police report fatal traffic accident

March 18, 2013 at 11:27AM

Police in Huntington say a woman died Sunday following a head-on collision during hazardous driving conditions.

The victim, identified as Deborah Rakes of Kenova, was driving on 5th Street Hill Sunday afternoon at about one o’clock when her car collided head-on with a minivan. Police say Rakes was unconscious when first responders arrived on the scene. She had to be cut out of her vehicle.

The driver of the van was injured.

There were numerous wrecks around Huntington Sunday afternoon when a rain-snow mix covered the area.

Source: West Virginia Metronews has a new look

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Tree Fall Accident Claims Life of Local Young Lawyer

LOGAN, WV — A local lawyer tragically died Friday morning in Logan, WV when a large tree fell on his truck and he crashed along W.Va. 10 in Logan County, police said.

West Virginia State Police Cpl. C.D. Kuhn said Carl Adkins, 29, was driving his Chevrolet Silverado truck near Aracoma at about 8:30 a.m. when the tree fell.

Adkins swerved off the road and crashed into a nearby ditch, Kuhn said. Adkins died at the scene, but the trooper didn’t know if he died as a result of the crash or from injuries sustained when the tree fell.

Kuhn said accidents involving fallen trees are rare in Logan County and this tree fell naturally.

Source: Charleston Gazette, “Logan man dies when tree falls on truck,” Staff reports, March 1, 2013