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Martinsburg man killed in accident on I-81

January 15, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - An 18-year-old Martinsburg man died Sunday night after he was thrown from a vehicle that wrecked along Interstate 81 about one mile south of the Spring Mills exit in Berkeley County, police said.

Derek Allan Pence of State Circle went into cardiac arrest on the way to City Hospital in Martinsburg and was pronounced dead on arrival, State Police 1st Sgt. E.D. Burnett said in a news release.

The driver of the vehicle, John Michael McFadden, 20, of Martinsburg, and two female passengers, ages 16 and 17, also of Martinsburg, were taken to Winchester (Va.) Medical Center, Burnett said.

Investigating trooper P.S. Kennedy said all three were able to talk to him early Monday and he believed they would recover from their injuries. The youngest girl had cuts on her right arm, and the others had bumps and bruises, the officer said Monday evening.

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"She's doing fine," Kennedy said.

Kennedy said that McFadden told him that he lost control of his blue, 1992 Toyota Corolla when a tire on the vehicle blew out.

"I can definitely tell you alcohol was not a factor," Kennedy said.

McFadden was driving south on the highway about 11 p.m., when the vehicle struck a guardrail on the left side of the road near the 19-mile marker and began spinning clockwise before it flipped three times, police said.

"It is believed during the first rollover, Mr. Pence was ejected from the rear of the vehicle and landed in the southbound lane," Burnett said.

The vehicle came to rest in the left-hand lane of the southbound lanes, police said.

The accident remains under investigation.

Bedington Volunteer Fire Department personnel and the Berkeley County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management also responded to the accident.

Pence was a 2007 graduate of Martinsburg High School, according to Jaimee Borger, director of communications for Berkeley County Schools.

"We had the crisis team at the school today," Borger said.

Several friends and family members shared their feelings about Pence's death on his MySpace page.

"You can't be gone derek ... you can't be," one friend posted at 12:53 a.m. Monday.

Others remembered his funny faces, his hugs and him as a "mall rat."

David Everly, assistant store manager at GameStop in the Martinsburg Mall where Pence worked, said Pence was a hard-working associate and one of the best game advisers at the video game store.

"He was a great guy," Everly said.

Pence was the son of Eric Pence and Doris Marion.

"He was a very good kid. He would do anything for anybody. A lot of people loved him," Eric Pence said. "There's a lot of people that are taking it pretty tough.

"It's very devastating not to have him around anymore," said Eric Pence, remembering his son's love of video games, music and computers.

McFadden was taking Derek Pence home after he dropped off Pence's girlfriend at her house, Eric Pence said.

Eric Pence said McFadden told him that his car started "pulling pretty hard" before he lost control of it.

"I feel for him, too," Pence said.

In addition to his parents, Derek Pence is survived by stepmother Shannon Pence; one brother, Kurt Pence of Martinsburg; and sisters, Amanda Tyeryar of Frederick, Md., Tiffany Sanders and Amber Sanders, both of Hagerstown, and Kellie Holman of Gaithersburg, Md.

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