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Woman charged in hit-and-run

June 08, 1999|By BRYN MICKLE

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -A Martinsburg woman was charged with negligent homicide Tuesday in the death of a man who was killed in a hit-and-run accident June 4 while walking to work.

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Carrine Ann Smith, 38, was arraigned on misdemeanor charges of negligent homicide and leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death, according to records in Berkeley County Magistrate Court.

Smith was charged Tuesday in the June 4 death of Charles Mordesovitch, 25, of Martinsburg.

The misdemeanor negligent homicide charge frustrated Berkeley County Prosecutor Pamela Games-Neely. She said a new law would have allowed her to file a felony charge if the accident had occurred today.

Prosecutors can only charge someone under the laws in place at the time a crime occurs, Games-Neely said.

The West Virginia legislature passed the bill earlier this year that makes it a felony to leave the scene of an accident resulting in death. It goes into effect today.

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The Christopher May bill, named after a Shepherdstown boy who was killed in a hit-and-run crash nearly two years ago, increases the penalty for the crime to three years in prison from its current maximum of 30 days in jail.

The Berkeley County Sheriff's Department said a passing motorist found Mordesovitch's body in a patch of grass early June 4 on the north side of Edwin Miller Boulevard.

Mordesovitch was hit by a car in front a Sheetz store on June 4 sometime between 4:30 a.m. and 5:10 a.m. while walking to Akers Plastic, where he was scheduled to begin his 6 a.m. work shift, police said.

Police were called to Porterfield's Collision Center in Martinsburg on Monday after an insurance adjuster told police the damage on a car there didn't match the owner's claim that her car had been vandalized, according to court records.

A 1999 Nissan at the shop had a broken windshield with a depression indicating contact with a body, police said.

There were also hair and fibers in the glass fractures that matched the victim's, police said.

The owner of the car told police it had been vandalized while parked at her home, according to court records.

The woman then told police she had hit something in front of the Sheetz store on Edwin Miller Boulevard but that she thought she had hit a deer and drove home when she did not see anyone, according to court records.

Smith was released on $7,500 bond after her arraignment Tuesday.

In Smith's case conviction on the negligent homicide charge carries a maximum of a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. The charge of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death carries a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and a $5,000 fine.

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