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Teen dies in crash

August 10, 2006|by MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. - A Martinsburg boy died on his 16th birthday early Wednesday when the car in which he was riding struck a tree along Welltown Road in Berkeley County, police said.

Brian Allen McClurg was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident, which was reported to emergency dispatchers at 1:11 a.m., according to the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department.

Two men in the car were flown to Fairfax Inova Hospital in Falls Church, Va., police said. Another man was flown to Winchester (Va.) Medical Center and a 10-year-old boy was taken to City Hospital in Martinsburg, police said.

Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Kenneth Lemaster Jr. said he believed the 10-year-old was "OK" after emergency officials pulled all four from the four-door Nissan.

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Police believe all four individuals are Berkeley County residents, but they could not confirm that information or release their names or ages. Their medical conditions also were not available.

"The only witness we have (to the accident) is a 10-year-old boy," Lemaster said.

The accident is being investigated by Deputy Steven Crites.

After a preliminary investigation, the Sheriff's Department determined that speed might have been a factor when the car left Welltown Road while traveling south toward Dry Run Road and City Hospital. The tree fell over into the road and blocked traffic for a couple of hours, a Hedgesville Volunteer Fire Department official said.

Brian's father, John McClurg, said Wednesday that he believed his son was on the way to a friend's house to play music. His son was expected to spend the night there after attending the Berkeley County Youth Fair earlier in the evening, he said.

"He was a jolly person," said Brian's mother, Elizabeth McClurg.

McClurg's parents described their son as "fun-loving" and said he had a lot of friends and enjoyed weightlifting and basketball.

He taught himself how to play all types of drums, his father said. His brother, Sean, played acoustic and electric guitar, and they often performed together, John McClurg said.

"He just was a lot of fun ... do anything for ya," his father said.

The timing of McClurg's death was difficult for Berkeley County Schools Superintendent Manny Arvon, whose home is near the site of the accident.

"It seems like we've had our fair share of accidents or tragedies (recently) that have taken our young folks," said Arvon, noting the recent deaths of two former students who died while enlisted in the U.S. military.

Arvon extended his condolences to the McClurg family.

"It's just devastating every time when we hear that a young person has been taken from us. It absolutely makes you feel ill," Arvon said.

McClurg is also survived by two sisters, Janel and Kristian.

Services will be at 3 p.m. Saturday at South Berkeley Funeral Chapel in Inwood, W.Va. The Rev. Carl Runyon of The Family Life Church of God will officiate.

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