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W.Va. man charged in worker's death

July 25, 2006|by DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A 73-year-old Kearneysville, W.Va., man was charged Monday with negligent homicide in the death of an Allegheny Power worker who was struck by a van on W.Va. 480 in May, according to court records.

Theodore A. Yetka was released on a $10,000 personal recognizance bond after being arraigned Monday, according to Jefferson County Magistrate Court records.

The accident occurred May 7 at about 6:32 a.m. near Little Curry Lane when Yetka was driving north on W.Va. 480 in a 1992 Toyota minivan, Sgt. C.C. Morton of the West Virginia State Police said.

Yetka's vehicle reached the crest of a hill where Vernon Pope, 52, of Martinsburg, W.Va., was standing in the van's lane of travel, Morton said.

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Pope was struck by the van and thrown, Morton said.

After the accident, Morton declined to speculate on contributing factors, saying it was under investigation.

Pope was directing traffic while another person was working from a repair truck, police said.

In a criminal complaint filed in Jefferson County Magistrate Court, Trooper M.J. Glende said he talked to Yetka and Yetka stated that he "slammed on his brakes" after seeing Pope.

Yetka told another officer that he was traveling about 40 mph, the complaint said.

Glende said he later obtained a crash reconstruction report from Sgt. G.S. Petsko, who concluded that northbound traffic on the highway had a sight distance of more than 700 feet.

Petsko also stated that there were two orange traffic warning signs posted prior to arriving at Pope's location, Glende said.

"Mr. Yetka could have seen the flagman in time to prevent the collision, and he is solely responsible for the collision," Glende said in his complaint.

Upon conviction, negligent homicide carries a possible punishment of a fine to $1,000 and or one year in jail, said court records.

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