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I-81 crash kills W.Va. man

May 04, 2005|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. - A Berkeley Springs, W.Va., man on his way home from work Tuesday morning was killed in the northbound lane of Interstate 81 when he lost control of his Jeep Wrangler at the Winchester Avenue exit and struck the end of a guardrail, police and family members said.

Ian Williams, 59, was killed instantly in the 7:22 a.m. crash, Deputy R.W. Dick of the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department said.

Williams was traveling in the center lane near the Winchester Avenue exit when he signaled to merge left, Dick said.

Williams was moving over to allow a tractor-trailer to merge left so traffic entering the interstate could merge onto the highway, Dick said.

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Williams apparently noticed a car in a blind spot to the left of his Jeep and overcorrected, Dick said.

Williams lost control of the Jeep, which skidded about 160 feet and struck the end of the guardrail, Dick said.

The Jeep then flipped, landed on its passenger side and came to rest about 55 feet from the right edge of the interstate, Dick said.

Williams was wearing a seat belt and was in the driver's seat when emergency crews arrived, Dick said.

Because the Jeep came to rest off the interstate, police did not have to close the highway, Dick said.

Williams' wife, Harriet, said her husband was returning home from his job at a Winchester, Va., business that makes building products.

Williams likely would have continued north on the interstate and taken W.Va. 9 to return home, his wife said.

Harriet Williams said the crash follows the recent death of her youngest son.

Williams said a doctor prescribed medicine for her son to control pain from a medical condition. Williams said the drug did not control the pain and her son turned to street drugs to control the pain.

Williams said her son died of a drug overdose in August.

"I'm not having a very good year. We have a bull's-eye painted on our vehicle," Williams said.

Williams said she and her husband were traveling on W.Va. 9 near The Woods Resort and Conference Center in 1989 when their car was involved in a head-on collision. Williams said she has been under a doctor's care since that wreck and her husband was hurt, but not disabled.

Williams said her husband was an avid woodworker and gardener.

He built the house she lives in and always was creating things out of wood, like window boxes.

"Everybody that knew him wanted to know what he was going to build this year," Harriet Williams said.

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