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Man dies after SUV strikes him in driveway

June 29, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

HANCOCK - A 46-year-old Washington County man was pronounced dead late Sunday, fewer than two hours after he was struck by a vehicle near his home west of Hancock.

Russell F. Smith Jr., of 13725 Exline Road, was pronounced dead at Washington County Hospital at about 11:20 p.m. Sunday, Sheriff's Department Sgt. Mark Knight said.

Smith was struck by an older model Chevrolet Suburban while on a private driveway leading to his home just after 9:30 p.m., Knight said.

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Knight said no charges have been filed against the driver, whom he would not identify. He said the incident did not appear to be intentional.

"We have nothing to indicate otherwise at this point," Knight said.

Deputy 1st Class Ryan Shifflet said he attended Smith's autopsy Monday morning in Baltimore but would not comment on its results or discuss what Smith's injuries were.

Smith's brother, William Smith, 50, of Baltimore, said his brother ran into the path of the moving vehicle on the dark driveway.

"The gentleman that hit him didn't even see him," William Smith said. "It was just a freak accident."

William Smith characterized his brother as a caring father and a quiet but friendly man who enjoyed going "four-wheeling" and collecting train sets.

Russell Smith lived at the Exline Road home with his wife Michelle and sons Rusty, 18, and Shawn, 15.

He worked as a State Highway Administration employee, William Smith said.

He said funeral arrangements, to be held in their hometown of Grafton, W.Va., were still being organized.

William Smith said the family was trying to grasp what happened.

"He was a loving brother, a good person and a friend," William Smith said. "He was everything I had, and I'm going to miss him."

"If I could trade places, I'd rather go instead of him," he said.

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