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Hagerstown man dies in crash at Mountaineer Raceway

April 15, 2002|BY DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A Hagerstown man died Sunday morning when the motorcycle he was racing at Mountaineer Raceway collided with two other motorcycles, West Virginia State Police said.

When paramedics arrived at the scene, Michael F. Loper, 23, was in "traumatic arrest," which is a cardiac arrest caused by trauma, said Monte Conner, field operations supervisor for the Berkeley County Emergency Ambulance Authority.

Loper was taken to City Hospital in Martinsburg, where he was pronounced dead, Conner said.

The accident occurred about 11:43 a.m. when Loper was completing the second of two jumps at the raceway, which is located along Harold Drive near Tablers Station Road just south of Martinsburg, state police said.

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Two other riders, Gregory Batts of Baltimore and Jeffrey Drury of St. Inigoes, Md., were airborne and about to approach the second jump when their motorcycles collided with Loper, state police said.

Conner said he did not believe Batts or Drury was injured.

An ambulance crew at the scene started first aid on Loper before he was taken to the hospital, Conner said. Berkeley County Medical Examiner Sandy Brining determined Loper suffered from blunt trauma to the chest, state police said.

Loper's father was watching the race when the accident occurred, state police said.

It was one of three motorcycle race-related injuries at the track Sunday and the second fatal wreck at the track within a year, police said.

Early Sunday, a motorcyclist suffered a hand injury, while in the afternoon, a motorcyclist injured his leg, Conner said.

Also, there were two motorcycle accidents at the track two weeks ago resulting in minor injuries to motorcyclists.

The two accidents on March 31 involved arm injuries to two motorcyclists in two separate races, rescue officials said.

In April 2001, Kenneth Kent Jr., 20, of Brandywine, Md., died after his all-terrain vehicle left the track, state police said.

Kent died after he went over the handle bars of the ATV and into a bank, police said.

The racetrack, where small cars and motorcycles are raced, has drawn some complaints from neighbors about noise and other problems.

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