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Berkeley Co. girl injured in Leetown Pike accident

May 18, 2007|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

LEETOWN, W.Va. - A 14-year-old Bunker Hill, W.Va., girl was taken to Winchester (Va.) Medical Center on Friday afternoon after she was ejected from a Ford Explorer that collided with a tour bus on Old Leetown Pike in Jefferson County, police and emergency officials said.

West Virginia State Police Trooper J.C. Moon said he needed to speak with a supervising officer before releasing the name of the girl, who emergency responders found in the middle of the road near a residence at 1087 Old Leetown Pike.

The girl's 53-year-old mother, who also was not identified, and bus driver Thomas Furino, 45, of Kearneysville, W.Va., were taken to Jefferson Memorial Hospital in Ranson, W.Va., for treatment, Moon said. There were no passengers were on the bus, Moon said.

The accident, which was reported at 3:40 p.m., still is under investigation, but Moon said rainy conditions might have contributed to the crash at a slight bend in Old Leetown Pike.

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Moon could not say whether any citations would be issued, but said it appeared the girl's mother lost control of the Ford Explorer while traveling west, and Furino was unable to avoid the SUV while traveling east.

The Ford Explorer might have spun around before its passenger side collided with the driver's side of the bus, which is operated by Luxury Transport of Charles Town, W.Va., Moon said. The SUV came to rest on the northern side of the road, and the bus was found off to the south side of the road about 75 yards to the east of the Explorer, Moon said.

The road was closed to traffic for more than an hour.

Traffic flow also was hampered in Berkeley County after a four-vehicle accident at the intersection of Rock Cliff Drive and W.Va. 9, which was reported about 40 minutes after the Jefferson County accident, officials said.

Berkeley County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Kenneth Lemaster said four people were taken to the hospital for treatment, but their injuries were not believed to be life-threatening. The accident clogged the road for at least 90 minutes.

All four vehicles were westbound on W.Va. 9, but some were found in the turn lane for Rock Cliff Drive, Lemaster said.

The apparent chain-reaction collision was one of several weather-related accidents reported Friday afternoon, Lemaster said.

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