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Pedestrian struck, killed on U.S. 11 in W.Va.

December 15, 2003|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A 45-year-old Martinsburg man who police said was walking in the middle of Winchester Avenue was killed Friday night when he was hit by three vehicles, Berkeley County Sheriff's Department Dep. S.D. Myers said Saturday.

The accident occurred at about 7:30 p.m., just south of W.Va. 9 East.

Myers said Fred Eugene Barrett Jr., of 736 Virginia Ave., was pronounced dead at City Hospital in Martinsburg.

"He was just walking in the roadway in dark-colored clothing," Myers said.

Myers said Barrett was struck first by a GMC Jimmy and thrown into an opposite lane. He then was hit by a Ford Explorer and dragged about 30 feet.

A Ford Festiva then hit Barrett and dragged him another 40 feet, police said.

Myers said he was not releasing the names of the drivers at their request.

"They were just totally shook up," he said.

All the drivers are from the Inwood, W.Va., area, he said.

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The first driver to strike Barrett was a woman on her way home, Myers said.

"There was nothing she could do," Myers said. "There's not a whole lot anybody could've done."

Myers said no charges were filed against the drivers.

Winchester Avenue (U.S. 11) was shut down for about two hours Friday night so the Sheriff's Department could reconstruct the accident, Myers said.

The investigation wrapped up Saturday.

Myers said police have no information about where Barrett was headed or why he was in the middle of the street.

"We just have no idea how he got there," Myers said.

Barrett's father, Fred Eugene Barrett Sr., said by phone Saturday night his son was returning home from doing construction work in Gerrardstown, W.Va.

He had gotten a ride part of the way home, before eventually ending up on Winchester Avenue, about a mile and a half away from where he lived with his father and stepmother, Margaret Ann Barrett.

Barrett's father said he thinks his son was trying to hitchhike the rest of the way home when the accident happened.

He said after his son was struck the first time, he was hit in the head by the second vehicle, killing him.

Fred Eugene Barrett Sr. said he doesn't think his son was walking in the middle of the road, which is what police reported.

He said he has received phone calls from witnesses who said Barrett Jr. was alongside of the road hitchhiking and was out of harm's way.

Barrett Sr. described his son as a hard worker who had a "knack" for doing construction work.

He said his son also had natural knowledge for laying carpet and putting up fences, and his son often surprised him with the quality of his work.

"He was a hard worker," his father said. "He was always proud of his work."

He said his son used to enjoy hunting and always loved to fish. They used to fish together at Dam No. 4 on the Potomac River and in the Opequon Creek.

He also enjoyed being around the two family dogs, "Little Bit" and "Francis Bean Farmer."

Barrett Jr. was born in Martinsburg, but mostly attended school in Albequerque, N.M., after his family moved there. He returned to Martinsburg when he was 15 years old and attended Martinsburg High School.

He served in the National Guard and worked in construction since he was about 16, his father said.

He said his son believed in God, and sometimes he'd hear him speaking to God in his bedroom.

"Every time he turned around he said, 'Dad, I got me a new Bible,'" Barrett Sr. said.

While they had their differences, Barrett Sr. said he and his son had a good relationship.

"I loved him very much," he said. "We was close."

Barrett Jr.'s service will be Tuesday at 1 p.m. at Pleasant View Memory Gardens.

The police have asked that anyone who may have witnessed the accident call police at 1-304-267-7000.

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