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W.Va. woman hurt in median wreck

June 29, 1998|By KERRY LYNN FRALEY

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A Falling Waters, W.Va., woman was injured Monday when her car plunged into a ravine between the northbound and southbound lanes of Interstate 81, according to West Virginia State Police.

The accident happened shortly before 11:30 a.m. north of Exit 13, said Trooper J.L. Folk.

The car's driver, Patricia Hackett, 53, of Route 1, Box 7, Apt. 2, was flown by helicopter to Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Va., Folk said.

She was in serious condition Monday night, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

Northbound traffic, halted for about 10 minutes to allow for the helicopter to land in the road, was slowed for about 90 minutes because a lane was closed for emergency vehicles, Folk said. Southbound traffic was slowed somewhat by onlookers, he said.

A southbound motorist who witnessed the accident told police he saw Hackett's green 1986 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme heading north in the median strip before it struck a small tree and went over the edge of the ravine, Folk said. The car flew about 100 feet before dropping 30 to 40 feet into Tuscarora Creek, he said.

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After hitting the water, the car flipped onto the embankment, where it was sitting upright when rescue workers arrived, Folk said. It took rescue workers 20 to 25 minutes to extricate Hackett from the mangled vehicle, he said.

Wreckers were brought in to steady the car with cable while its roof and door were cut off, said Bedington Fire Chief Robert Robinson.

Hackett, who was conscious during the rescue, was wearing a seat belt, Folk said.

There were no passengers, he said.

The cause of the accident is still under investigation, Folk said.

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