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I-81 crash victim still not ID'd

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

August 14, 2007|by MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The identity of a motorist killed early Friday in a fiery crash on Interstate 81 in Berkeley County has not been released, but investigators have determined the vehicle's owner was not the victim, West Virginia State Police Sgt. T.C. Kearns said Monday.

The identity of the motorist, who died near the 11-mile marker of I-81 just after midnight, was expected to be verified Monday by the West Virginia Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Kearns said.

The fatal accident was the first of two in the southbound lanes of Interstate 81 in a span of about 48 hours, according to Kearns, the agency's Martinsburg Detachment commander.

Early Sunday, Danielle Catherine Butts, 29, of Martinsburg, died after she lost control of the Chevrolet Cobalt she was operating about 3:36 a.m. near the 9-mile marker, Kearns said.

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Kearns said Trooper N.K. Campbell saw the Cobalt flip several times before it struck a tree while the trooper was investigating an accident nearby.

Kearns said investigators determined that just before Butts lost control of the vehicle, the Cobalt struck a 2007 Toyota Camry driven by a Winchester, Va., man.

The man was not injured and the Camry received minimal damage to the left rear quarter-panel where it was hit, Kearns said.

Kearns said Campbell and Trooper D.S. See were unable to remove Butts from the vehicle.

In Friday's accident, authorities initially received a report of a possible reckless driver at 12:18 a.m., Kearns said.

Kearns said investigators determined the vehicle traveled a couple of miles after the initial report and struck a tractor-trailer near the 11-mile marker. The car veered off the road before becoming engulfed in flames, Kearns said.

The tractor-trailer driver was not injured, Kearns said.

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