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Police continue probing W.Va. accident

July 14, 1998|By KERRY LYNN FRALEY

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Police on Tuesday were still piecing together what happened Monday night when a Martinsburg Police Department cruiser and a car collided at the intersection of South Queen and West South streets.

Patrolman Jeffery Pepple, 27, of Martinsburg, was heading north on South Queen Street to back up another officer who was involved in a foot chase when the accident occurred at about 9 p.m., according to Martinsburg Police Sgt. John McMillen.

Malissa Neice, 32, of Martinsburg, was driving a dark red Plymouth Duster in which two children were riding at the time of the accident, according to McMillen.

Neice was coming onto South Queen Street from West South Street, he said.

Pepple, Neice, Nakesha Sheppard, 9 months, and Carl Snuffer, 4, were taken to City Hospital in Martinsburg, McMillen said.

All were treated and released, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

The children were in restraining seats, which Mc-Millen said protected them from more serious injuries.

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The investigation is expected to take several days, said Detective Sgt. George Swartwood.

Pepple was on his way to assist an officer who had stopped Derrick Spencer, 20, of 122 N. Raleigh St., Martinsburg, in the 200 block of Center Street after recognizing him as being wanted on several outstanding warrants, Swartwood said. The warrants stemmed from misdemeanor charges in the city, he said.

After being stopped, Spencer got out of his vehicle and fled on foot, Swartwood said. Spencer was arrested and charged with hindering an officer, trespassing and failure to appear for assault, he said.

Martinsburg Police Cpl. Brian Yost was called to the scene to reconstruct the chain of events, McMillen said.

Police cordoned off several blocks of South Queen Street as officers collected evidence, measured distances, took photographs and videotaped the scene late into the night Monday.

Dozens of people clustered around the barriers watching the scene.

The police cruiser, its windshield smashed and front end crumpled, appeared to have hit a utility police on the northeast corner of the intersection. It came to rest facing the pole in the northbound lane of South Queen Street, its bumper on the other side of the pole on the ground.

The Plymouth, its passenger side smashed in, came to rest facing northeast almost a block north of the police car on the lawn in front of 414 S. Queen St.

According to witnesses, the officer had his emergency lights flashing at the time of the accident.

One witness said he heard an intermittent siren. Another said she heard a siren briefly before the crash.

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