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Police unable to talk to driver in I-81 crash

February 02, 2001

Police unable to talk to driver in I-81 crash



By RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer, Waynesboro


GREENCASTLE, Pa. - A Pennsylvania State Police spokesman said Friday that due to the extent of his injuries, investigators were still unable to talk with the driver of a car who drove the wrong way on Interstate 81 Wednesday, slammed head-on into a Berkeley County, W.Va., Sheriff's Department cruiser and killed a deputy.

Lance S. Parkins, 19, of 151 Sandy Circle, Chambersburg, Pa., the driver of the wrong-way car, was still in critical condition at Washington County Hospital Friday night.

Killed in the crash was Deputy John Lewis Burkett, 28, of Falling Waters, W.Va. He was sitting in the front passenger seat.

Deputy Joseph Miller, 58, who was driving the cruiser, was released from Washington County Hospital Friday.

Gary Lynn Moser, 44, of Waynesboro, Pa., a prisoner in the back seat who was being returned to Berkeley County for prosecution on felony fraud charges, was listed in good condition Friday night.

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Asbury said blood and urine samples taken from Parkins are being analyzed. The results of the tests won't be available until Monday or Tuesday, he said.

"We have not been able to interview Mr. Parkins because of his injuries," said Trooper Edward Asbury, a state police spokesman.

Police still don't know why Parkins chose to drive the wrong way on the busy, fast-moving highway, he said.

Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney Pamela Games-Neely said Friday that Moser will be brought back to West Virginia for arraignment when he is able to travel.

According to police, Parkins headed north on the southbound lane of I-81 after entering the highway on the southbound exit ramp at Exit 3 in Greencastle.

Pennsylvania State Trooper Aaron Martin happened to be waiting for a traffic light to change on the southbound off-ramp when Parkins passed him heading the wrong way in his 1990 Subaru sedan.

Martin turned around, put on his lights and went after Parkins, also by going the wrong way on I-81. Martin said one oncoming vehicle swerved and missed Parkins who then hit the cruiser head-on.

Memorial services for Burkett, the first Berkeley County deputy to die while on duty, will be held today at 11 a.m. at Hedgesville High School in Hedgesville, W.Va.

The high school can be reached by heading west for about four miles on W.Va. 9 off I-81 at Exit 16.

About 400 people, including Gov. Bob Wise, attended a visitation Friday evening at Brown Funeral Home's South Berkeley Chapel in Inwood, W.Va., said Joyce Stanley, the manager of the funeral home.

State and local elected officials were also there, along with police officers from West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland, Stanley said.

- Staff Writer Andrew Schotz contributed to this story

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