8 hurt in wreck on I-81 in West Virginia

August 11, 1998

I-81 wreckBy CLYDE FORD / Staff Writer, Charles Town

photo: RIC DUGAN / staff photographer [enlarge]

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A van driver pulled off Interstate 81 into the median to look for his wallet Monday, and when he pulled back onto the highway the van collided with a car, injuring eight people, according to West Virginia State Police.

All eight of the injured, including seven occupants of the van, were treated at City Hospital in Martinsburg and released, a hospital spokeswoman said Monday night.

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The 1:18 p.m. accident on I-81 near Martinsburg blocked traffic in the northbound lanes for about 30 minutes, police said.

The accident occurred just north of exit 16 and many vehicles detoured around the accident scene by going north on U.S. 11, police said.


The driver of a northbound van carrying six other people pulled off the interstate onto to the right-hand shoulder so that someone else could take over the driving duties, said West Virginia State Police Trooper J.L. Folk, the investigating officer.

John A. Turner, 54, of New York City, took the wheel when he realized he had misplaced his wallet, Folk said.

He pulled off to the left into the median to search for his wallet when he realized he was not parked in a good position, Folk said.

He pulled back onto the highway with the intention of pulling onto the right-hand shoulder to park, Folk said.

As he drove across the two northbound lanes, the 1990 Chevrolet van crossed into the path of a 1992 Chevrolet Lumina driven by Michael Brizio, 50, of Bogota, Colombia, Folk said.

The impact caused the van to turn onto its side, Folk said.

Turner was charged with failure to yield the right-of-way, Folk said.

Passengers in the van included children who suffered bruises and cuts, Folk said.

The names of the passengers were unavailable Monday.

The accident occurred during a rainstorm, but was not weather-related, Folk said.

Nine ambulances and fire trucks from four fire companies went to the scene, officials said.

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