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Man dies in Tuesday morning crash

February 16, 2005|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - One man was killed and another was seriously injured when their work van ran off the side of a road in Berkeley County early Tuesday, went airborne and flipped, police said.

Lyle Knipple, 63, was pronounced dead at the scene, said Cpl. Willie Johnson, with the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department.

The other man in the 2002 Chevrolet Astro van, Jody Lucas, 34, was taken to City Hospital in Martinsburg, transferred to Winchester (Va.) Medical Center and then transferred to Inova Fairfax Hospital in Virginia. Johnson said he was told Lucas' injuries were life-threatening.

A spokeswoman at Inova Fairfax Hospital said Lucas was in critical condition Tuesday night.

Police are not sure which man was driving the van because both were ejected, Johnson said.

The wreck happened at around 2:50 a.m. on Apple Harvest Drive, between the Kmart store and the Queen Street exit. The van was heading east when it went off the right side of the road and into the grass, Johnson said.

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The driver tried to get back onto the road but the van slid for more than 300 feet on wet grass and then hit a guardrail, Johnson said. The van the went into the air and flipped end-over-end several times, eventually coming to rest on its passenger side in a ditch, police said.

Johnson said that the van had a Maryland business' name on it, but he declined to release it. He said both men had driver's licenses from Maryland, but that police were not sure exactly where either lived.

The accident caused a section of guardrail to end up in the road and a tractor-trailer driver who ran over it notified authorities. When emergency personnel arrived they realized that the accident had happened, Johnson said.

Nobody witnessed the wreck, he said.

Air bags in the van deployed but police could not determine whether either man was wearing a seat belt, Johnson said.

Johnson, who does accident reconstruction work, said he was still trying to determine the speed of the van when it left the road.

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