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Halfway man dies in accident on I-81 in W.Va.

January 18, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. ? A 79-year-old Halfway man who died in a traffic accident on northbound Interstate 81 in Berkeley County, W.Va. Friday morning might have experienced a medical ailment or fallen asleep before the wreck happened, police said.

Thomas Carl Carter Sr. of 1110 Lakeview Drive, was pronounced dead at the accident scene, about a half mile north of Exit 20, the exit for Spring Mills, W.Va., police and officials said.

At about 11 a.m., Carter, an employee of The Herald-Mail Co., was driving a 2003 Chevrolet van that ran off the right side of the road, struck an embankment and then turned back onto the highway and struck an empty tanker trailer being hauled by a 2006 Mack truck, according to Berkeley County Sheriff's Department Deputy Lt. R.L. Gardner.

The driver of the truck, Frank T. Ives of Chesapeake, Md., was treated for neck and back pain at City Hospital in Martinsburg and released, Gardner said.

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Accident closed part of I-81 for two hours

The accident closed the northbound lanes of I-81 for about two hours.

Carter was employed in the Herald-Mail's packaging and distribution department in Hagerstown.

"Tom was a good person who did a great job for us for years," Herald-Mail Editor and Publisher John League said Friday.

"It's hard to believe," that this happened, he said. "We'll miss him."

Carter had been employed part time with The Herald-Mail since 1992, primarily handling dock duties.

"Tom was one of the hardest-working employees we've ever had," said Packaging foreman Archie Schminkey. "It sounds like a cliché, but he was willing to do whatever was asked of him, at any time. He never made any trouble for anyone, and just came in and did his job, day in and day out."

Second accident happened about 35 minutes later

Before joining The Herald-Mail, Carter worked for 46 years for Maryland Maid Kitchens as a truck driver.

Carter's death was the third fatality on Interstate 81 this week in Berkeley County.

He is survived by his wife, Betty, and their children.

A second accident occurred about 35 minutes later in the northbound lanes at mile marker 19, according to investigating West Virginia State Police Trooper G.D. Simms.

Brooke Mills, 22, of Martinsburg, was cited for failure to use due care after the Nissan Altima she was driving crashed into two vehicles that were slowing down because of the first accident, Simms said.

Mills was taken City Hospital for treatment of injuries that Simms did not believe were life-threatening.

Jason Evans, a passenger riding with her, was taken to a hospital in Maryland, and Simms did not believe his injuries were life-threatening.

The drivers of the other two vehicles, Lydia Lehman, 27, of Shepherdstown, W.Va., and Daniel Hatcher, 48, of Ranson, W.Va., were not injured, Simms said.

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