Charges filed in fatal hit-and-run

October 02, 1997


Staff Writer, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia State Police on Thursday charged a Shepherdstown, W.Va., man in connection with a Sept. 24 hit-and-run accident that claimed the life of a 16-year-old Shepherdstown boy.

Barry C. Harper, 41, was charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident, failure to provide aid and failure to report an accident. He was released on $25,000 bond.

All three charges are misdemeanors.

Conviction on a charge of leaving the scene of a fatal accident carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a $5,000 fine. The other two offenses each carry a maximum penalty of 10 days in jail and a $100 fine.


The charges stem from a Sept. 24 accident reported to police at 8:30 p.m. as a hit-and-run accident, according to court records.

Christopher Robert May, a junior at Faith Christian Academy, was riding his bicycle home on W.Va. 45 west of Shepherdstown when he was struck from behind by a pickup truck. He was pronounced dead at Fairfax Hospital in Virginia.

May was a standout basketball and soccer player who was described as a popular student at the small, close-knit school.

Witnesses told police the truck's driver stopped briefly, then drove away, turning onto Billmeyer Road, police said.

The next day, Harper turned himself in at the state police barracks and spoke to police, according to court records.

The front of Harper's truck was damaged, and there was an impression matching the bike's rear tire on the front bumper, court records said.

Senior Trooper D.W. Peal said Harper was not charged last Thursday because he was not considered a flight risk and there were other aspects of the case to investigate.

Peal said that even though Harper turned himself in, the investigation was leading to him as a suspect.

Numerous residents had called in with tips after the accident, Peal said.

"The state police would like to thank the community for the help we have received in this investigation," Peal said.

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