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11 hurt in two W.Va. crashes

December 22, 2007|By DON AINES

CHARLES TOWN, W.VA. - Eleven people were injured, four of them seriously, in two crashes Friday night on W.Va. 51 that involved seven vehicles, according to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department.

The first crash occurred at 6:35 p.m. in the area of Altona Farm, about a half-mile west of the Charles Town city limits, Independent Fire Co. Chief Ed Smith said. The first emergency personnel arrived within three minutes, he said.

"I had every ambulance in Jefferson County," Smith said.

Two Rynel ambulances from Berkeley County joined nine from Jefferson County, he said. There was a total of 21 pieces of fire, ambulance and rescue equipment at the scene, he said.

Four people were flown from the scene by helicopter, three to Winchester (Va.) Medical Center and one to City Hospital in Martinsburg, Smith said.

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The crash occurred when an eastbound Ford Escort crossed into the westbound lane and collided head-on with a Geo Tracker, Cpl. Vincent Tiong said. The impact sent the Tracker into the eastbound lane, where it collided with a Mitsubishi Eclipse and a Chevrolet Trailblazer, Tiong said.

The Tracker rolled on to its roof, which caved in, and four people had to be freed from the wreckage, Tiong said. Those four people were taken away by helicopter, he said.

The drivers of the Escort and the Trailblazer were taken by ambulance to Jefferson Memorial Hospital, Tiong said. There were nine people in the four vehicles involved in the crash, he said.

After the first accident, there was another in the same area involving three vehicles, said Tiong, who was not the investigating officer on that crash. The names of the people involved were not available Friday night, and the investigation was ongoing, he said.

Smith said six patients were taken to Jefferson Memorial Hospital and another to City Hospital by ambulances. Smith said his personnel cleared the scene at 8:37 p.m.

"When we left the scene, everyone was still alive," Smith said.

Traffic was heavy with commuters and shoppers at the time of the crashes, Smith said. The road was closed and traffic was diverted around the scene for about an hour and 20 minutes, he said.

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