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Man, 21, dies in car crash

July 20, 2002|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

A 15-year-old boy drove off Berkeley Station Road early Friday morning and crashed into a tree, killing his 21-year-old passenger, West Virginia State Police said.

Eric Hazlett died after suffering major head trauma, police said. He lived at 2308 Blair St., not far from the site of the crash.

The driver, who was not identified, was treated at City Hospital in Martinsburg and released. Afterward, he was taken to the Berkeley County Juvenile Detention Center, police said.

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A state police sergeant referred questions about the crash to investigating Trooper Kevin Plumer, who was not available Friday afternoon.

Hazlett's sister, Teresa McFarland, said the family doesn't know who the 15-year-old boy is. She was surprised her brother had a friend that age.

Police said the boy was driving a blue 1980 Subaru that had no registration displayed. The car went off the north edge of Berkeley Station Road - a curving, two-lane road - then hit a trash receptacle, a fence and a tree, police said.

Relatives and neighbors visited the Hazlett home throughout the day Friday and offered support.

Hazlett was "the baby" of the family, McFarland said. He had three brothers, a half-brother and a sister, all older.

Hazlett was well-known for his impressions and the lines he repeated from movies and television shows. McFarland said he liked funny actors, such as Adam Sandler, and he imitated Jim Carrey from "The Mask," "Dumb and Dumber" and other movies. Hazlett mimicked Carrey's facial contortions as well as his lines.

A friendly, social person quick to make friends, Hazlett cracked jokes and lifted people's spirits "even if he was hurting inside," his sister said.

"Everybody that knew him was just glued to him," McFarland said.

In his serious moods, Hazlett was "very emotional," she said. "You could see it. He didn't always open up a lot."

Hazlett's musical tastes leaned toward country and classic rock. A few years ago, he decided to learn the guitar by ear and "just started strumming," McFarland said.

He played in a recreation baseball league at Oatesdale Park in Martinsburg for three years. In football, he liked to root for the Washington Redskins.

The family moved from Jefferson County to Berkeley County about 13 years ago, but Hazlett attended Jefferson County schools, McFarland said.

After going to Harpers Ferry Junior High, he dropped out of Jefferson High School and went to work. He most recently worked a seasonal job at Lowe Products Co. Inc. in Shepherdstown, W.Va., but that job had ended, McFarland said.

She and other family members often gave Hazlett advice, telling him he had the potential to succeed.

"He was in deep thought about that a lot," McFarland said. "He always had the heart to do it. He was staying home more. He was changing it a lot."

Hazlett thought about going back to church and he considered a career in electronics, McFarland said. He worked on his high school equivalency diploma before he died.

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