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Shambaugh death ruled accidental

April 26, 2001

Shambaugh death ruled accidental



By BOB PARTLOW / Staff Writer, Martinsburg


The death last month of Morgan County Clerk Ralph Shambaugh has been ruled an accident, Morgan County Prosecuting Attorney David Sevasten said Wednesday.

"We haven't seen the actual coroner's report, but we have been told by the coroner's office that it was an accidental drowning," Sevasten said. "I know of no other reason than that."

Shambaugh's body was examined by the state Medical Examiner's Office.

Shambaugh, 64, died March 27 when his minivan left Powerhouse Road near Great Cacapon, about five miles from Berkeley Springs, W.Va., and slid into the Cacapon River.

Morgan County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Tim Stapleton said Shambaugh's vehicle left the road shortly before a bridge with water over it. The spot in the road where the vehicle went into the river also had water over it, he said.

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The vehicle did not appear to be in any danger, although Stapleton said it was in about 2 to 3 feet of water.

Shambaugh's body was found on a rock about 150 feet downstream from the vehicle.

Stapleton also confirmed the state Medical Examiner's Office verbally said the death was an accident.

Shambaugh was riding with another man, Cally Joe Stotler, Stapleton said.

"He went to get help," Stapleton said. Shambaugh was in the car when he left, he said.

Shambaugh had been county clerk for 14 years and Morgan County assessor for eight years before that. He also served as a member and president of the Morgan County Board of Education.

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