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Crash kills four near Harpers Ferry

icy highway believed to be factor

February 14, 2008|By DAVE McMILLION

HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. -- Police believe icy road conditions contributed to a head-on collision early Wednesday that killed four men when a van struck a tractor-trailer on U.S. 340 near Chestnut Hill Road.

There was a mix of ice and snow on the highway, and it was raining at the time of the accident, said Sgt. R.S. Sell of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department.

The rain was freezing when it hit the road, Sell said.

The Ford 250 Econoline van that was carrying the men was traveling west when it fishtailed, went into the eastbound lane and struck the tractor-trailer, Sell said.

The van came to rest on the right side of the westbound lane and the tractor-trailer ended up blocking the westbound lane and part of the eastbound lane, Sell said.

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Three of the men in the van were pronounced dead at the scene and the driver was taken to Jefferson Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at about 8:30 a.m., Sell said.

Sell said Wednesday afternoon that he could not release the names of the men because he was still notifying next-of-kin.

The men were Hispanic and were from the northern Virginia area, Sell said.

Based on equipment in the van, Sell said it appears the men might have been construction workers headed to a job site.

The tractor-trailer driver, whom Sell would not identify Wednesday, was not hurt, Sell said.

The road was closed for about four hours and eastbound motorists headed toward the crash scene were instructed to turn around at the traffic light leading into Bolivar, W.Va., Sell said.

Maryland and Virginia authorities were contacted so they could deal with traffic congestion in their states, Sell said.

The wreck, which was reported at 6:41 a.m., occurred about four-tenths of a mile east of Chestnut Hill Road, Sell said.

There is a recurring problem on U.S. 340 with water draining across the road and freezing, but Wednesday's accident occurred east of that area, Sell said.

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