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UPDATE: W.Va. State Police trooper resigning after leaving Md. accident scene

May 23, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- A West Virginia State Police trooper resigned Thursday from the force after leaving the scene of a minor accident in Halfway on Tuesday morning involving an unoccupied Washington County water quality department vehicle and the cruiser that he was driving, according to authorities in Maryland and West Virginia.

Trooper Jonathan C. Moon, who has been assigned to the Charles Town, W.Va., detachment for nearly two years, made his resignation effective at midnight, said Joseph C. Thornton, deputy secretary of the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety.

"He just thought it was in his best interest to resign," Thornton said. "The department's sad to see him go."

Washington County Sheriff's Department Lt. Mark Knight said Wednesday that the accident happened about 5 a.m. in the area of Virginia Avenue (U.S. 11) and Decker Avenue near Hagerstown.

No one was injured, but Knight said the accident was under investigation. He deferred further questions to West Virginia State Police.

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In a voicemail message left Wednesday evening, Washington County Sheriff Douglas Mullendore said the accident happened on Virginia Avenue, near an area where a sewer pipe recently collapsed. The vehicle hit was a county utility vehicle used by the water quality department, he said.

No charges had been filed in connection with the accident.

Thornton said that state police didn't know Moon was involved in the accident until after Maryland authorities found the cruiser's vanity plate emblazoned with the state police shield where the collision happened. Damage to both vehicles was considered minor, Thornton said.

First Sgt. E.D. Burnett, district commander of the Eastern Panhandle's three state police detachments, said Wednesday he was unable to comment and deferred inquiries to Thornton.

A July 2006 graduate of the West Virginia State Police academy, Moon was in the line of duty and traveling to a meeting when the accident happened, Thornton said. Thornton did not know the location of the meeting or its purpose.

Thornton said an internal state police investigation was under way.

Staff writer Erin Julius contributed to this report.

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