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Three die in separate W.Va. vehicle accidents

May 06, 2003|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

Two traffic accidents in Berkeley County, W.Va., claimed three lives late Sunday and early Monday. In one accident, a Falling Waters man died when the dirt bike he was driving collided with the side of a pickup truck. In the other, two men died when their Jeep hit a tree, according to police.

Terry Lee Pannuty, 40, of Falling Waters, died in the wreck involving the dirt bike at around 10 p.m. Sunday on U.S. 11 near Falling Waters.

In a second accident, reported at 12:54 a.m. Monday on Buck Hill Road, Joshua Routson, 22, of Virginia, and a passenger in his Jeep, John Holloman, 29, of Ganotown, W.Va., died when the Jeep veered off the road and hit a tree, according to police.

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Both men were pronounced dead at the scene.

In the Sunday night accident, Pannuty and a passenger, Stanley Seekford, 32, were on a Yamaha bike heading north, said Trooper R.T. Dyroff of the West Virginia State Police.

Witnesses said the dirt bike, which is designed for off-road use, had no headlight or taillight, Dyroff said.

Edward Selby, 53, of Glenwood, Md., was heading south in a 1974 Chevrolet pickup truck. When Selby turned left onto the ramp for Interstate 81, the dirt bike crashed into the passenger side of the truck, Dyroff said.

Had Pannuty swerved away from the truck, he probably would have avoided the collision, but instead the bike swerved toward the truck, Dyroff said.

A man driving behind the dirt bike told investigators that Pannuty was speeding and swerving across the two-lane road, Dyroff said. The man said he flashed his car's lights at the bike because he feared a wreck was imminent, Dyroff said.

Selby was not charged in connection with the wreck.

Pannuty, who was thrown over the handlebars and into the side of the truck, suffered head injuries. Berkeley County Coroner Sandra Brining pronounced him dead at the scene.

Pannuty was not wearing a helmet, police said.

Seekford, who was wearing a helmet, was thrown from the bike. He was taken by helicopter to Washington County Hospital. His condition could not be confirmed Monday.

Pannuty did not have a valid driver's license, according to records. In the last 10 years, he was charged five times with third-offense DUI, records show.

Chief Deputy Kenneth Lemaster of the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department said he did not know why Routson's Jeep went off the road in the Monday morning wreck.

No additional information could be obtained about the wreck, which remained under investigation.

In February, Holloman suffered severe facial injuries and had several teeth broken or knocked out in what police called a pistol-whipping. In addition, Holloman told police, a bullet was fired into the empty passenger side of his car, records show.

Tony Messer, 32, of Buck Hill Road, was charged with malicious wounding and wanton endangerment with a firearm. He has been in Eastern Regional Jail since his arrest in March, according to a jail spokesman.

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