Two Va. residents killed in multivehicle crash on I-81 near Martinsburg

August 15, 2008

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - An Orange County, Va., couple died Thursday night in a three-vehicle accident that straddled both the northbound and southbound lanes of Interstate 81, West Virginia State Police said Friday morning.

Howard Diamond, 80, and his wife, Nancy A. Diamond, 70, of Locust Grove, were pronounced dead at the scene of the collision, which occurred about 9 a.m., between Exit 14 (Dry Run Road) and Exit 16 (W.Va. 9), police said.

Both were believed to be wearing seat belts, police said Friday.

The Diamonds were traveling south in a Ford Focus station wagon when a white Ford F-150 crossed the median from the northbound lanes after sideswiping a tan Nissan Altima and struck the vehicle in which they were riding head-on, police said.

Troy Bean, 40, of Martinsburg, who was driving the F-150, was flown from City Hospital to Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Va., where police said he was being treated for injuries that were not believed to be life-threatening. A hospital spokeswoman could not provide a condition.


Lonn Stevenson, 37, of Hagerstown, who was driving the Altima, was treated at City Hospital in Martinsburg and released, according to police and a hospital spokesperson.

The force of the F-150's collision with the Altima forced both vehicles into the southbound lanes, but the car came to rest in a lane closed for construction, police said. The truck continued moving until it collided head-on with the station wagon, police said. Troopers J.D. Schuessler, D.S. See, J.B. Flanigan and C.S. Maynard, and Cpl. K.W. Martin responded to the scene. The investigation was ongoing, police said.

Southbound traffic on I-81 was detoured to Exit 16 for at least two hours because of the accident, according to Berkeley County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Kenneth M. Lemaster Jr.

The detour caused congestion along Queen and King streets in Martinsburg as motorists made their way along the alternate route.

A second accident near the 15-mile marker about 10:15 p.m. forced police to shut down the northbound lanes of the interstate for 15 to 20 minutes, Lemaster said.

No one was seriously injured in that wreck, he said.

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