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Hagerstown man killed in interstate accident

May 24, 1998|By CLYDE FORD

MARLOWE, W.Va. - A Hagerstown man died early Saturday after he drove the wrong direction on Interstate 81 and collided with a tour bus, injuring 10 people.

The Berkeley County Sheriff's Department identified the dead man as Bart Jason Wingerd, 27, an area high school and college baseball standout.

Wingerd was driving his 1987 Honda Prelude south in the northbound lanes of I-81 near Marlowe, when he crashed head-on into the tour bus at 2:37 a.m., said Sgt. Cheryl Keller of the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department.

The accident occurred about a quarter-mile north of the Marlowe exit, Keller said.

The bus was carrying 34 people, mostly from Martinsville, Va., to a church conference in White Plains, N.Y., Keller said.

Ten people were taken to City Hospital in Martinsburg for treatment of minor injuries, Keller said. All were released.

An autopsy will be performed on Wingerd as part of the investigation to determine the cause of the accident, Keller said.

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Friends described Wingerd as a "good young man and a father."

Dick McCleary, of Hagerstown, who is engaged to Wingerd's mother, said he still pictures Wingerd playing with his 1-year-old son, Alec Mackenzie Wingerd, as the boy "laughed and carried on."

"He had a lot of future in front of him. It's a tough bridge to cross," McCleary said.

Wingerd, who graduated from North Hagerstown High School in 1988, was working for the Hagerstown Housing Authority Security Division. He also was continuing his education at Hagerstown Junior College and hoped to eventually start a business, McCleary said.

His friend and baseball teammate Shawn Reynolds, now coach of the North High baseball team, said he remembers Wingerd as a hard-charging baseball player who was quiet and loyal to his friends.

Wingerd played baseball with the Funkstown American Legion, North Hagerstown High School, South Hagerstown High School, Hagerstown Junior College and Elon College in North Carolina.

"He would always fight to the last out - never give up," Reynolds said. "It's just hard to take."

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