Boy dies, 9 injured in I-81 accident

December 27, 2006|by MATTHEW UMSTEAD

FALLING WATERS, W.VA. - A boy was killed Tuesday and nine people were injured - three seriously - in a three-vehicle accident that tied up traffic for more than two hours in the southbound lanes of Interstate 81 near Exit 23 in northern Berkeley County, officials said.

Berkeley County Medical Examiner David Brining said he pronounced the child dead at City Hospital in Martinsburg at 7:04 p.m., about an hour after emergency responders were dispatched to the I-81 bridge that crosses U.S. 11 between the Exit 23 ramps for Falling Waters and Marlowe, W.Va.

The identities of the boy and those injured were not immediately released by West Virginia State Police, who investigated the accident.

Bedington Volunteer Fire Department Capt. Tom Newcomb said two of the most seriously injured were taken to Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Va. The other person was believed to have been taken to Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., Newcomb said.


The other seven injured were taken to City Hospital, Newcomb said.

The boy who died was riding with four other people in a sedan-type car that Newcomb said was positioned at the north end of the bridge and "crunched against the guardrail," facing north in the southbound lanes of I-81. The other vehicles in the accident, including a pickup truck, did not appear to have received as much damage, Newcomb said.

The southbound lanes were not opened to traffic until 8:25 p.m., more than two hours after the accident happened a few minutes after 6 p.m., officials said.

Motorists traveling south on the interstate were diverted to U.S. 11 from the highway in Maryland, then allowed to return to the highway at Exit 23, officials said.

Those traveling north were detoured at Exit 20, near Spring Mills, allowing emergency helicopters to land on the highway to pick up the three patients, Newcomb said.

Emergency personnel based at Bedington Volunteer Fire Department were assisted by volunteer and paid responders from Hedgesville and Martinsburg, W.Va.; Williamsport, Halfway and the Berkeley County Ambulance Authority.

Berkeley County Sheriff's Department deputies also assisted with the accident, Newcomb said.

The Herald-Mail Articles