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Man charged in crash that killed flagman in W.Va.

September 21, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - The driver of a car that struck a flagman at a construction zone at the entrance to the Huntfield development in July looked down before the accident to get a cup for his chewing tobacco, according to papers filed in Jefferson County Magistrate Court.

When Lee James Crawford looked up, he unsuccessfully swerved in an attempt to miss Michael Carleton Snyder, court records allege.

On Monday, Crawford, of 405 Virginia St., Keyser, W.Va., was charged with negligent homicide, failure to obey traffic control, failure to maintain control and failure to use due care, magistrate court records say.

Crawford, who also gave an address of 1009 Winchester Ave., Martinsburg, was free on $5,000 bond.

A conviction of negligent homicide carries up to a year in jail and/or a fine up to $1,000. The three additional charges each carry a fine of up to $100, court records say.


Snyder, 28, of Jefferson, Md., was pronounced dead at the scene after he was struck at the construction zone on Augustine Avenue on July 19, said Charles Town Police Department officials.

Snyder hit the windshield of Crawford's car and was thrown for an unknown distance, police said. Snyder had two broken legs and head injuries, police said.

According to magistrate court records, Crawford was traveling about 35 mph to 40 mph when he looked down to get a cup.

Snyder was directing traffic around an area at the entrance to the Huntfield development where workers were building a turn-off lane into the 3,800-home housing development, police said.

Several other workers were in the area, but did not see Snyder being struck, said Charles Town Police Chief Mike Aldridge.

At the time of the accident, southbound motorists approaching the construction zone traveled along a long, straight section of Augustine Avenue, which used to be U.S. 340, Aldridge and Cpl. Jim Knott said after the crash.

Motorists passed three warning signs, two alerting them to the construction zone and one to the flagman, Aldridge said.

Although there is a crest in the road near the spot where Snyder was standing, motorists should have been able to see him, Aldridge said.

Crawford agreed to give a blood sample at Jefferson Memorial Hospital, court records said.

The sample was sent to the West Virginia State Police lab in South Charleston, W.Va., where it tested negative for substances that could impair the driver, court records said.

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