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W.Va. troopers rescue women in I-81 accident

October 12, 2003|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Two West Virginia State Police troopers who arrived at a car accident before medical crews Saturday morning pulled the occupants from their overturned car, police said.

Sgt. Dean Olack said he intends to write letters of commendation on behalf of Troopers John Droppleman and Nathan Harmon to recognize their efforts.

The accident happened at 7:43 a.m. near the 19-mile marker on Interstate 81 outside Martinsburg.

Dorothy Fullen, 68, of New Freedom, Pa., was driving south in a 1987 Ford Crown Victoria when, for an unknown reason, she ran off the road, said Berkeley County Sheriff's Department Deputy Tom Carroll, who is investigating the accident. The car rolled twice.

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Fullen was injured, as were her three passengers - Marion Behrens, 60, of New Freedom; Rosalee Matthews, 69, of York, Pa.; and Elva Ledbetter, 85, of New Freedom.

Fullen and Matthews were taken to Washington County Hospital, where a spokeswoman said Saturday evening that both were in the intensive care unit.

Ledbetter and Behrens were taken to City Hospital in Martinsburg. Both were listed in stable condition, a spokeswoman said.

All four women were trapped in the car. Harmon and Droppleman crawled inside the car and cut the women's seat belts to free them, Olack said. At least three of the women were pulled from the vehicle.

Because of the risk of fire or an explosion, Olack said, it was important to get the women out as soon as possible.

"I would say they went above and beyond," Olack said. "They could've just stayed there until EMS got there."

Medics from the Berkeley County Ambulance Authority, Bedington Volunteer Fire Department, Hedgesville Volunteer Fire Department and Martinsburg Fire Department responded.

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