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Driver charged in fatal wreck

September 18, 2002|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A Berkeley County, W.Va., man was charged Sunday with two misdemeanor counts of negligent homicide in connection with a single-car wreck last year in which two people died - including a woman who was facing a felony murder charge, the county's prosecutor said Tuesday.

Joshua D. Barrett, 19, of Hedgesville, W.Va., was charged in a Sept. 4, 2001, accident in which a rented Ford Explorer crashed into a tree on Cherry Run Road at about 10:30 p.m.

Kyra Lynn Heleine, 19, of Falling Waters, W.Va., and Tristan Aaron Ashby, 21, of Martinsburg, were killed in the crash. Barrett was airlifted to a Virginia hospital.

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West Virginia State Trooper R.A. Spearen II arrested Barrett Sunday on the outstanding warrants, Berkeley County Prosecutor Pamela Games-Neely said.

After the wreck, friends and family members said Heleine, Ashby and Barrett were friends who had attended Hedgesville High School together.

At the time, Heleine was free on bond, but in violation of home confinement regulations. She was awaiting trial on one count of felony murder.

She had been charged with injecting heroin into 29-year-old Jason Scott Gettel, who later died. Felony murder means that someone died during the commission of a felony - in this case, heroin distribution, Games-Neely previously said.

A co-defendant in the case, Roger L. Bowers Jr., who was 20 years old at the time of his arrest, was later convicted of murder.

Initially, police said they were not sure who was driving the Explorer, which was mangled in the wreck. Police said the driver most likely was speeding.

A conviction on a count of misdemeanor negligent is punishable by up to a year in jail. If convicted, Barrett's driver's license could be revoked.

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