Man killed in I-81 crash from Berkeley Co.

October 09, 2007|By DAVE McMILLION

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. - A man who was killed Friday night in a three-car accident on Interstate 81 was identified Monday by West Virginia State Police as Thomas Edwin Harkless, 36, of Gerrardstown, W.Va.

Harkless was driving a 1992 Chrysler four-door sedan south on I-81 about 9:25 p.m. when he veered into the median south of the Tablers Station Road exit, state police said.

Harkless' car collided with a northbound GMC Denali and then a northbound tractor-trailer, according to a news release.

The crash occurred near the 7 1/2-mile marker.

When troopers J.S. Chumley and P.S. Kennedy arrived at the scene, they found the tractor-trailer on its side and Harkless in the road, the release said.

Troopers initially were unable to identify Harkless because he did not have a driver's license in the car, state police said.


State police said they tried to contact the registered owner of the car but were unsuccessful. Harkless had the Chrysler registered through a friend in Kentucky, Kennedy said.

On Sunday, a man called Kennedy to report a missing person, who later was determined to be Harkless, state police said. Harkless' parents in Florida were then notified, police said.

Kennedy said Monday that the man who called police lived next to Harkless on Bluff Trail in Gerrardstown. Harkless was the man's neighbor up until about a month ago, when Harkless moved in with him, Kennedy said.

Kennedy said it is unclear what caused Harkless to drive into northbound traffic and an investigation was continuing.

An autopsy is scheduled for Harkless in an attempt to help determine a cause of the crash, Kennedy said.

The tractor-trailer driver was flown to Winchester (Va.) Medical Center after the crash but has been released, Kennedy said.

A woman who was driving the GMC Denali was not hurt. The woman's husband and two children were in the vehicle, but were not hurt. One of two dogs in the vehicle died, Kennedy said.

Addresses of the people in the tractor-trailer and the GMC Denali were not available. The truck was registered in Oklahoma and the Denali was registered in New York, police said.

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