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Man dead at scene of crash

May 31, 2002|by SARAH MULLIN

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

A Martinsburg man died when his 1994 Mazda hit a utility pole off W.Va. 9 early Thursday, shortly after police broke off pursuit of his vehicle, the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department said.

Shaye Michael Palmer, 30, died in a single-car accident minutes after Berkeley County Sheriff's deputy Cpl. W. Johnson broke off pursuit, Deputy Chief Kenneth Lemaster said.

Lemaster said the incident began at around 12:50 a.m. near Moler Avenue near Martinsburg.

Berkeley County Sheriff Randy Smith said the deputy was passing Palmer's car when he noticed the car lights flashing on and off. The deputy tried to turn off to see if Palmer needed assistance and Palmer sped away.

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Smith said that the deputy followed department policy and broke off the chase when it started to reach excessive speed.

"I have a policy in place that we break off a chase if it exceeds the speed limit by excessive speed when no felony is suspected," Smith said.

After Palmer sped away, he failed to yield and passed another car on a double line on W.Va. 9, Lemaster alleged.

Johnson broke off the pursuit, and at 12:53 a.m. reached the scene of a crash involving Palmer near the intersection of Collins Drive and W.Va. 9, Lemaster said.

Palmer's car hit the utility pole on the driver's side, causing the door to be "peeled" away, and Palmer was thrown from the car, Lemaster said.

Palmer was pronounced dead at the scene, he said.

A passenger in the car, Christy Bradley, 26, of Shepherdstown, W.Va., was taken to City Hospital in Martinsburg where she was treated and released, hospital officials said.

Staff writer Richard F. Belisle contributed to this story.

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