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Man's body found in W.Va. quarry

February 19, 1997

By CLYDE FORD

Staff Writer, Charles Town

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The body of a 19-year-old Falling Waters, W.Va., man was found floating in the water of a stone quarry off Berkeley Station Road Wednesday.

Two men walking through the area discovered the body.

The dead man's name was not released Wednesday night because his family had not been notified, West Virginia State Police Senior Trooper John Doppleman said.

Investigators believe the man may have been the driver involved in a Tuesday night accident on U.S. 11, about 150 yards from the quarry.

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Police think that the man might have walked away from the accident and fallen over a cliff about 80 feet into the quarry, Doppleman said.

Shortly before midnight Tuesday, West Virginia State Police Senior Trooper Carl Mahood had found an unoccupied car that had smashed into construction material on U.S. 11, Doppleman said.

The trooper searched, but could not find the car's driver, Doppleman said.

"We're not sure if he was delirious when he hit his head on the windshield or he left the scene for some other reason," Doppleman said.

The man apparently followed a path made by an old line of railroad tracks, Doppleman said.

There was a moon out Tuesday night, but skies were partially cloudy, and in the dark the man might have stumbled into the quarry or mistaken the open area for a field, Doppleman said.

There were no signs of a struggle around the quarry's edge and no sign of foul play, Doppleman said.

The body was located in the south end of a long, narrow, stone quarry next to a small, beach-like area of fallen rock.

Jerry Rogers, 53, of Berkeley Station, W.Va., and Oscar Chapman, 68, of Pikeside, W.Va., found the body while walking along old railroad tracks. They had been out watching workers who were tearing down an old railroad bridge.

At the quarry, they looked down at the water, Rogers said.

Rogers said he saw something in the blue-green water about 80 feet below and called to Chapman.

"We're always cutting up with each other but I told him this was for real," Rogers said. "I said, `Is that a body down there?'"

The men called 911 about 2:45 p.m.

Bedington Volunteer Fire Chief Robert Robinson arrived, but he and the troopers were faced with a problem. The sides of the quarry were steeply angled and they were unable to climb down to the water below.

Robinson called in two Martinsburg firefighters specially trained in rappelling, Jerry Gray and Scott Stroop.

The two firefighters used a rope to climb down the side of the quarry and then firefighters lowered a metal stretcher.

"It was tough getting him out of the water," Gray said.

The footing was treacherous because of loose rocks, Stroop said.

Recovery of the body took about 2 1/2 hours, Robinson said.

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