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Police say girls were drinking before fatal pickup accident

December 12, 2006|by PEPPER BALLARD

CHARLES TOWN, W.VA. - Four teenage girls were drinking alcohol before they stole a pickup truck and crashed it on Mission Road early Sunday, leaving one girl dead and seriously injuring her sister, West Virginia State Police Trooper Joseph Bush said Monday.

Bush said police are investigating the cause of the accident that killed 14-year-old Samantha Staubs at about 12:30 a.m. Sunday.

Bush said police are trying to determine which girl was driving the stolen 1997 Chevrolet pickup truck when it swerved left of center on Mission Road near Shannondale, struck an embankment and landed on its passenger side.

Both front-seat airbags deployed in the truck, and the four girls were not wearing seat belts, Bush said.

Staubs' 13-year-old sister, whose name was not released, was taken by helicopter to Inova Fairfax (Va.) Hospital, where she was listed in stable condition Monday afternoon, he said. The other girls, a 15-year-old and a 14-year-old, were treated and released from Jefferson Memorial Hospital on Sunday, Bush said.

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Two girls were riding in front of the truck and two others were in a passenger section of the extended cab, Bush said.

He said Staubs, a student at Jefferson County's Ninth Grade Center, was the front-seat passenger and her sister was sitting in the middle seat on the rear bench seat.

"It's still unclear which two girls stole the truck," Bush said.

He said the four girls each "told their parents different lies" and said they were sleeping over at different friends' houses Saturday night.

The two girls who were taken to Jefferson Memorial Hospital have given different accounts of the events leading up to the crash, Sgt. C.C. Morton said.

"They did end up going to a guy's house and that's where they were consuming alcohol," Bush said. He said the teenage boy's parents were not home. The four girls and a couple of boys drank Hurricane, a malt liquor, he said.

"They did have three bottles of that, but I'm not sure yet whether that's each or total," Bush said. He said at least one girl said she had a shot of liquor, but said she didn't like the taste.

Two of the girls "got bored," left the party and walked around the neighborhood looking for an unlocked vehicle, Bush said.

He said that the truck was parked with its keys left inside at a house on Beamer Lane off Charles Town Road, about 1/2 mile from the party the girls left.

The truck owner, whose identity was not released, is not related to the girls, Bush said.

Bush said that two girls got into the truck, then picked up the other girls, but the boys declined to ride.

Staff writer Dave McMillion contributed to this story.

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