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Tests show man killed on I-81 was drunk

September 03, 1998

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Based on toxicology results and apparent suicidal tendencies, police have ruled an Inwood, W.Va., man intended to kill himself when he crossed the path of a car on Interstate 81 near Martinsburg on July 28, according to West Virginia State Police Sgt. J.A. Humphrey.

Toxicology results showed Zachary Zirk, 29, was "highly intoxicated," with a .28 blood-alcohol content and prescription medication in his system, Humphrey confirmed.

A blood alcohol content of .10 or above is grounds for conviction on driving under the influence charges, he said.

Through interviews with family and friends, police learned Zirk attempted suicide in the past and still appeared to be suicidal, Humphrey said.

The accident occurred around 10 p.m. between Exit 16 east and Exit 16 west, according to police.

Zirk ran into the highway and struck the driver's side of a 1998 Crown Victoria driven by Charles Baldassare of Hedgesville, W.Va., according to police.


At least two more vehicles ran over Zirk's body and dragged it for a short distance, police said.

Baldassare was not charged, Humphrey said.

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