Man killed in W.Va. crash was devoted to his church

February 25, 2003|by DAVE McMILLION

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. - Every Saturday morning, Lynn Coffinbarger would go to Tomahawk Presbyterian Church just down the street from his house and turn up the heat in the church.

He would turn up the heat so the church would be warm for services the next day, said his daughter-in-law, Ruth Coffinbarger.

Lynn Coffinbarger, 82, often walked to the church, but last Saturday he drove because of the recent wintry weather, Ruth Coffinbarger said.


Lynn Coffinbarger was backing out of the driveway about 8:26 a.m. when his Chevrolet Cavalier was struck on the driver's side by a Chevrolet Camaro that was traveling about 60 mph, a witness told West Virginia State Police.

Lynn Coffinbarger, a lifelong member of the church who served as a deacon, elder and Sunday School superintendent, was pronounced dead at the scene, Senior Trooper J.D. Burkhart said.

Lynn Coffinbarger's sudden death left family members stunned, Ruth Coffinbarger said.

"I can't tell you how good a person he was. He never asked for anything," she said. "The man never had a ticket."

When Burkhart arrived at the scene, he spoke to a witness who said he saw the Camaro pass him on Back Creek Valley Road on a double yellow line. The witness then saw the Camaro hit Lynn Coffinbarger's car, Burkhart said.

After the crash, the witness saw occupants in the Camaro running south on Back Creek Valley Road toward the Tomahawk store, Burkhart said in a criminal complaint filed in Berkeley County Magistrate Court.

A woman later told Burkhart that the person driving the Camaro was Jacob Horner, Burkhart said.

Burkhart later spoke to Horner, who said he fled the scene because he did not have a driver's license, his car was not registered, he did not have insurance and the inspection was expired, Burkhart said.

Jacob Samuel Horner, 18, of 44 Navajo Lane in Hedgesville, was arrested for felony leaving the scene of an accident involving death, state police said. He was released from Eastern Regional Jail Monday, jail officials said.

Lynn Coffinbarger will be buried Wednesday in the church's cemetery, which he regularly mowed, Ruth Coffinbarger said. She said he wanted to be buried in a new section of the cemetery.

Volunteers using a backhoe and a loader have been bringing in shale so the funeral procession can reach Coffinbarger's burial spot under a walnut tree at the cemetery, Ruth Coffinbarger said.

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