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Morning crash closes interstate in W.Va. for hours

May 30, 2007|by MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARLOWE, W.Va. - Four people were injured early Tuesday when the driver of a Ford Expedition crashed on Interstate 81 near Marlowe in northern Berkeley County, clogging the highway for at least three hours, officials said.

The medical conditions or identifications of those injured, including a young boy who was taken to Washington County Hospital, were not clear.

Three people, including the driver, were taken to City Hospital in Martinsburg, W.Va., after possibly being ejected from the vehicle, according to a press release from Berkeley County Sheriff's Department Deputy Sgt. W.A. Johnson.

Sheriff W. Randy Smith said Tuesday night that his office had not received any further information about their conditions.

Emergency responders were dispatched to the accident at 3 a.m., and Bedington Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Chief Andrew DeHaven said the vehicle was engulfed in flames when he arrived with fellow volunteers.

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Johnson said the vehicle was northbound on I-81 when it left the highway and traveled in the median for about 600 feet before returning to the northbound passing lane.

"It also appears that the driver overcompensated by steering back to the left, back into the median (and) the vehicle then began to roll/tumble back into the median and (came) to rest just before entering the southbound passing lane," Johnson said.

DeHaven said one northbound lane of the interstate was opened by 4:30 a.m., but traffic had been backed up to mile marker 22.

Southbound motorists used the rest area exit to bypass the affected lanes, and tractor-trailers abandoned the highway in Maryland at the Williamsport exit, DeHaven said.

Bedington volunteers were assisted by emergency personnel from Williamsport, the Martinsburg Fire Department and the Berkeley County Ambulance Authority.

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