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W.Va. State Police trooper hurt in crash during chase

September 15, 2007

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A West Virginia State Police trooper was injured early Friday after his police cruiser collided with a speeding vehicle that had crashed on W.Va. 9 east of Martinsburg, First Sgt. E.D. Burnett.

Trooper Z.L. Nine was treated at City Hospital in Martinsburg for a laceration to his left ear that required 19 stitches, then was released, Burnett said.

The driver's side of Nine's police cruiser collided with a silver Dodge Ram 1500 Friday about 2:45 a.m. after the truck left the road, crashed into a utility pole, overturned and came to rest in the eastbound lane of the road near the curve at 84 Lumber.

Burnett said the accident created a debris cloud that blinded Nine's vision, and his cruiser collided with the truck after he steered to the right to avoid westbound traffic.

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Nine got out of his vehicle to check on the vehicle's occupants, but they had fled on foot, Burnett said.

Police later determined that the operator of the truck was Joseph Butts of Martinsburg. Warrants are being sought for him on several traffic-related charges, obstructing an investigation and leaving the scene of an accident with injury, Burnett said. The investigation is ongoing, Burnett said.

Both vehicles were totaled, Burnett said.

Minutes before the accident, Burnett said Nine was doing radar checks near State Circle and W.Va. 9. Radar recorded that the truck was traveling 71 mph in 45-mph zone, Burnett said.

Anyone with information about the incident may call West Virginia State Police in Martinsburg at 304-267-0001. The identity of any callers will be kept confidential, Burnett said.

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