Family mourns crash victim

October 06, 2007|By ERIN JULIUS

TRI-STATE - Members of a local family this week mourned one of their own, killed in a Sept. 26 car accident on Interstate 95 in Georgia while on her way to meet family at a beach house in North Carolina.

Virginia Lee McDonnell, 68, a former Hagerstown resident who was living in Sonora, Calif., died at the scene of the accident, her brother, William Spigler of Waynesboro, Pa., said Friday.

McDonnell's sister, Janet Racine, formerly of Maugansville, also was in the accident and remains in a coma at a hospital in Savannah, Ga., Spigler said. Racine also has pneumonia, he said.

A third sister, Joanne O'Brien, also was injured, but should be able to return to her home in California next week, Spigler said. O'Brien, who is a nurse, will be hospitalized again once she arrives in California, he said.


Spigler planned to travel to the Savannah hospital to visit O'Brien before she left for California, he said.

The vehicle, which was driven by O'Brien, struck a sign on the side of I-95 near a rest stop, Spigler said.

The sisters were driving together to North Carolina after meeting in Florida at Racine's home.

Patricia Ford and Victoria Hastings, both from the Hagerstown area, were at the beach house when they found out about the accident, Spigler said.

Ford, Hastings and their sister, Bonivant Ann Thomas, formerly of Hagerstown, drove to Georgia as soon as they heard about the accident, Spigler said.

This year was the third time the sisters got together at the North Carolina home.

The sisters were part of a family of nine children that moved to Hagerstown in the 1930s. His sisters "cornered" the baby-sitting market in Hagerstown's South End when they were in high school, Spigler said.

All three women are grandmothers, and more than 100 family members want to be kept informed of any medical developments, so a nephew created a Web log, or blog, for the families to use, Spigler said.

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