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W.Va. man killed in crash suspected in woman's death

April 30, 2003|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.VA. - A man killed Tuesday morning when his pickup truck crossed the center line and hit a tractor-trailer on U.S. 522 in Morgan County, W.Va., was a suspect in the fatal shooting of his daughter-in-law, police said.

Sheila Dean, 39, of High View, W.Va., was found dead in her Hampshire County home's basement about two hours after the wreck. Her 15-year-old son found her lying face-down and called 911 at 7:05 a.m., said Lt. Kam Jeffries of the West Virginia State Police's Romney barrack.

Jeffries said he did not know how many times Dean was shot or the exact time of the shooting. It was sometime after 1 a.m., he said.

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Before Dean's body was found, at 5:45 a.m., 911 officials in Morgan County received the first call about the wreck, in which Benjamin Dean's Dodge Dakota collided head-on with a tractor-trailer.

Police said Benjamin Dean, 64, caused the wreck, and Jeffries said he believed no skid marks were left at the scene from the pickup.

"It could very well be (suicide)," he said. "There is still a lot of investigating to be done."

A second person also was shot sometime early Tuesday, police said. David Boyce, a friend of Sheila Dean's, was undergoing surgery Tuesday afternoon, Jeffries said. Police believed he was shot twice.

After Dean's children told police that Boyce, 40, was in their home when they went to bed Monday night, police went to his Yellow Spring, W.Va., home to find him, Jeffries said. He was taken to Winchester (Va.) Medical Center.

The wreck happened about a mile south of Cacapon State Park. Dean reportedly veered across the center line about 50 yards in front of the tractor-trailer, which flipped onto its side and blocked both lanes of the road for several hours, Jeffries said. None of the corrosive acid that the truck driver was hauling leaked out, he said.

Richard Voight, 43, of Winchester, Va., was driving the tractor-trailer. He was taken to War Memorial Hospital for treatment, but his condition could not be confirmed.

Benjamin Dean was pronounced dead at the scene, Jeffries said.

Jeffries said he did not know exactly what type of gun was used in the shootings, but said it may have been a pistol-type of caliber. A weapon had not been found Tuesday afternoon, but Jeffries said police officers were still examining the truck, which was destroyed in the wreck.

On Monday, Sheila and Benjamin Dean had been in court in Hampshire County for a juvenile-related matter, Jeffries said. Because juvenile court proceedings are kept confidential, Jeffries could not release any information about the hearing.

Jeffries said he was not sure whether Benjamin Dean lived with his daughter-in-law. He also could not speculate on where Benjamin Dean was going at the time of the wreck. He was heading north.

Crime scene analysts went to both shooting sites, as well as the wreck site, Jeffries said.

Around 30 miles separate the spot where the wreck occurred from the scene of the shootings.

Sheila Dean's husband was at work in Winchester during the time frame in which the shootings occurred, Jeffries said.

Police could not say with certainty that Benjamin Dean was responsible for the shootings, Jeffries said.

However, "things are looking that way," he said.

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