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Cause of fatal wreck unknown

January 04, 2006|by DAVE McMILLION

MARTINSBURG, W.VA.

charlestown@herald-mail.com

West Virginia State Police said Tuesday it still is unclear what caused an 82-year-old driver of a tractor-trailer to steer his rig into opposite lanes of travel on Interstate 81 Monday night and into a creek.

Marlin D. Lingle of Middletown, Pa., was found dead following the crash, which occurred at the King Street exit, said Sgt. David Boober.

A state medical examiner responded to the scene of the crash but it could take months to determine what caused Lingle's death, Sgt. Eric Burnett said.

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There were no indications that Lingle's truck made an abrupt steering or braking maneuver, leading police to believe there was not a mechanical problem or a problem with another vehicle on the interstate, Boober said.

Boober said it is possible Lingle suffered a medical complication or feel asleep at the wheel.

A co-worker who was following Lingle's tractor-trailer, which was a transport rig carrying about 10 vehicles, said Lingle's truck was traveling north on the interstate when it went left and through barrier cables in the median.

The rig went north in the southbound lanes, off the interstate and into a creek, said police, who were called to the scene at 10:12 p.m.

The truck was pulled out of the creek early Tuesday, Boober said.

Travel on the interstate was partially restricted while rescue crews worked at the scene under emergency lighting.

While Trooper J.D. Burkhart was working in the area, a car traveling south sideswiped Burkhart's cruiser. He was not in the cruiser and was not hurt.

Destiny See, 24, of Winchester, Va., was cited for failure to maintain control in that accident, Boober said.

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