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Harpers Ferry man charged in fatal crash into Potomac River

January 24, 2008|By DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A Harpers Ferry, W.Va., man has been charged in a Jan. 6 incident in which a pickup truck went off River Road near Shepherdstown and into the Potomac River, resulting in the drowning of a passenger, police said.

Kevin David Phelps, the driver of the truck who allegedly fled the scene, was arrested Friday and charged with leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death and two counts of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in injury, according to Jefferson County Magistrate Court records.

Phelps, 30, of 767 Duncan Road, is free on $50,000 bond.

Phelps and three other people were riding in a Ford F-350 pickup truck that was traveling East on River Road east of Shepherdstown in the area of Knott Island, police and rescue officials said.

After reaching the Potomac River outside of Shepherdstown, River Road parallels the river. Past Trough Road, River Road turns away from the river at Knott Island.

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After going off River Road, the truck struck several trees before going over an embankment and landing in a backwater area of the river, said police, who were notified just after midnight Jan. 5.

The truck was found partially submerged and on its driver's side, police and rescue crews said.

Two of the occupants were able to get out of the truck and were on the bank when rescue crews arrived, officials said.

Nicole Moreland, 26, of Harpers Ferry and Scott Kemp, 33, of Frederick, Md., were taken to City Hospital in Martinsburg, W.Va., and treated and released, state police said.

The woman who died - 35-year-old Susan Theresa Daley of 10402 Lenhart Road in Frederick - was found submerged in water in the cab of the truck, officials said.

Rescue crews were able to walk along the passenger side of the truck, reach through the water to Daley and determine she had no pulse, said Ross Morgan, chief of the Shepherdstown Fire Department.

Rescue crews then partially lifted the truck out of the water so they could reach Daley, officials said.

It is believed that Daley drowned, Carole Spessert, a medical examiner for Jefferson and Berkeley counties, said previously.

State police could not be reached Thursday about details surrounding Phelps arrest.

A conviction on a charge of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death carries a possible punishment up to three years in prison and/or a fine of as much as $5,000, court records said.

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