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Man killed in I-81 crash in W.Va. identified

October 08, 2007

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. ? The man killed Friday night in a three-vehicle crash on Interstate 81 south of Martinsburg has been identified as a 36-year-old Gerrardstown, W.Va., man, West Virginia State Police said Monday.

Thomas Edwin Harkless was identified after Trooper P.S. Kennedy received a missing person call Sunday from one of Harkless's neighbors, police said in a news release.

Harkless was found lying in the northbound lanes of Interstate 81, about one mile from the Tabler Station Road exit, after the crash, which was reported at 9:24 p.m. Friday. He had been thrown from the vehicle he driving, police said.

No driver's license was found on Harkless's body or in the vehicle, a white 1992 Chrysler four-door sedan with Kentuky registration 994HAJ, the news release said. Attempts to contact the registered owner of the vehicle did not result in any information, police said.

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After Harkless was identified, his parents in Florida were notified of his death, police said.

Police said the investigation indicates that the Chrysler, heading southbound on I-81, crossed the median and entered the northbound lanes. It then struck a northbound 2005 GMC Denali with New York registration driven by Amy Sellars, then struck a northbound tractor-trailer with Oklahoma registration driven by Robert Spaulding.

The Denali was found in the northbound lanes facing north and the tractor-trailer was lying on its side across the median, police said.

The news release did not indicate whether Sellars or Spaulding were injured.

The accident forced motorists onto about three miles of U.S. 11 from Tabler Station Road to W.Va. 51 in Inwood, W.Va., Berkeley County emergency communications officials said.

The accident remained under investigation.

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