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Man killed in W.Va. accident

April 14, 1997


Staff Writer, Charles Town

KEARNEYSVILLE, W.Va. - A Ranson, W.Va., man died Sunday afternoon after he ran off Kearneysville-Virginia Line Road and into a tree, according to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department.

Samuel F. Shirley, 62, was pronounced dead shortly after 5 p.m. at Jefferson Memorial Hospital, said Deputy R.J. Jenkins.

The accident occurred shortly after 4 p.m. when Shirley was traveling north on the road, also known as Leetown Road, just south of the W.Va. 9 and W.Va. 480 intersections.

Shirley possibly had a heart attack when his car veered to the left, struck several mailboxes, ran into a yard and into the large tree, Jenkins said.


The air bag in the Geo Metro was deployed by the impact.

Charles Craigo, 51, heard the noise and ran from his house to the accident scene across the street.

"He tried to say something, but then went limp," Craigo said. "I rubbed his arms and told him help was on the way."

It was the second time in recent months that Craigo said he was the first to an accident scene where the driver died. About five months ago he said he saw a Corvette wreck in front of him and he went to the driver's aid.

As Craigo tried to assist Shirley, Craigo's son called for an ambulance.

"I couldn't believe how quickly the fire truck was here," Craigo said.

The firefighters from the Independent Fire Co. were at the traffic light on W.Va. 9 a short distance away when the call came over the radio, a firefighter said.

They had been in Martinsburg, W.Va., showing fire officials there the fire engine.

Firefighters immediately started cardiopulmonary resuscitation in an attempt to save Shirley and an ambulance was called from Shepherdstown Fire Co.

Medics worked on the man for nearly 40 minutes at the scene trying to save him.

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