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Woman's body is recovered from river

June 08, 2004|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

andrews@herald-mail.com

A West Virginia woman's body was recovered from the Potomac River Monday morning, several hours after witnesses reported seeing her vehicle go into the water.

Lt. K.C. Bohrer of the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department on Monday afternoon identified the woman as Betty Crawford, 42, of Shape Charge Road, north of Martinsburg, W.Va.

Bohrer said authorities think the death was an accident, but were investigating. He said he did not know what Crawford was doing near the river or if anyone was with her.

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Crawford's body was sent to a Maryland state medical examiner because the Potomac River is in Maryland's jurisdiction, Bohrer said.

Someone called 911 in Washington County about 12:05 a.m. Monday to report a vehicle was in the water.

Steve Allen, the director of the Berkeley County (W.Va.) Office of Emergency Services, said about five people standing on the Maryland side of the Potomac River reportedly saw what looked like a pickup truck go into the water on the West Virginia side.

The truck went in the water near Dam No. 5, which is south of Clear Spring, Allen said.

Emergency workers and Maryland Department of Natural Resources Police went to the Washington County side to search.

Allen said he and other members of his office went to the Berkeley County side, where they found signs of tire tracks near the river.

There also was an imprint in the dirt of the profile of a wheel, as if the wheel were on its side, he said. That was closer to the river's edge, about 10 or 12 feet above the water level, he said.

Rescuers did not find the truck right away and returned to the river about 9 a.m. Monday to continue searching.

A Washington County emergency dispatcher said the search crew found the vehicle about 10:40 a.m. and pulled it from the water about 11:20.

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