Former W.Va. trooper charged with leaving accident scene


MARTINSBURG, W.VA. -- A former West Virginia State Police trooper who resigned last week after wrecking a cruiser into a utility truck near Hagerstown was charged Wednesday with leaving the scene of a property damage accident, Washington County Sheriff Doug Mullendore said Thursday.

Jonathan C. Moon, who was assigned to the Charles Town detachment, resigned two days after the May 20 accident, which happened at 2:30 a.m. but wasn't reported until 5 a.m., Mullendore said in an e-mail.

The patrol car crashed into an unoccupied Washington County Department of Water Quality pickup truck with flashing lights that was parked at an emergency sewer line repair site along the northbound lane of Virginia Avenue (U.S. 11) near Decker Avenue in Halfway, David G. Swain, the county water quality department's deputy director said Wednesday.

"He hit it square," Swain said of rear bumper damage on the department truck. "It wasn't a glancing blow."


Moon was on his way to Charleston, W.Va., for an autopsy-related meeting about the death of Wayne Preston Printz Jr. of Charles Town, according to Joseph C. Thornton, deputy cabinet secretary of the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety.

Printz, 25, was found dead May 16 near the Charles Town (W.Va.) bypass after a CSX train engineer told authorities he saw what appeared to be a body within the railroad tracks, officials have said. Moon was the investigating officer.

Thornton on Thursday said in an e-mail that he was trying to obtain a more specific reason for Moon's trip to Charleston and his exact destination.

Thornton has said that the state did not know the accident involved a trooper until after being contacted about the discovery of a vehicle tag emblazoned with the State Police shield at site of the collision.

At the time of the accident, Swain said, about 400 feet of the northbound lane of Virginia Avenue was "coned off" for emergency repairs to a 15-inch concrete sewer line. The work began May 18 and continued around the clock until the morning of May 22, Swain said.

"I was there for 24 (hours) straight," Swain said.

The truck hit by the police car was parked within the coned area at the south end of the work site, Swain said. In addition to the truck's flashing lights, signage with flashing lights had been installed to adequately warn motorists, Swain said.

Three water quality department employees, along with contracted workers, were at the site when the collision occurred, but the loud noise caused by equipment in use apparently drowned out the sound of the collision, Swain said.

"We don't know when it happened," Swain said.

The bumper damage wasn't discovered until 4:50 a.m., and Swain said police were contacted at 4:56 a.m. He estimated the bumper repairs would cost $500 to $600. An inspection to determine any additional damage was planned.

After seeing "a lot of plastic laying around" at the accident site, Swain said it appeared to him that the police car received the brunt of the damage from the collision.

The amount of damage to the cruiser was not known.

Moon was assigned to the Charles Town detachment after graduating in July 2006. State Police First Sgt. E.D. Burnett, district commander of the Eastern Panhandle's three detachments, said last week he was unable to comment and deferred inquiries about the accident to Thornton.

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