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DUI death case on track for trial

December 16, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- The state's case against a man accused of being intoxicated when the van he was driving in April collided with a car on W.Va. 9 in Berkeley County, resulting in the death of two elderly women, likely will go to trial, his attorney said Monday in a status hearing.

Darrell James Russ Jr., 28, of 140 Rustic Tavern Road, near Hedgesville, W.Va., is in Eastern Regional Jail on two felony counts of DUI with death and three counts of DUI causing injury.

Edna Nofziger, 90, of Pettisville, Ohio, and her daughter, Mary Kempf, 68, also of Ohio, died at the scene of the head-on collision west of Hedgesville near Log Home Drive on April 17.

The women were returning home from a funeral in Virginia, according to court records.

Two others riding with the victims were injured in the crash, police said.

Russ did not appear to be injured and, after the accident, told a deputy that he had taken a Percocet beforehand. The narcotic is prescribed to relieve pain.

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Because of problems with initial blood samples taken from Russ after the accident, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Gregory Jones told 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge David H. Sanders that testing by a Philadelphia area lab was needed.

"We hope to have the results a couple days after Christmas," Jones said.

Russ' trial is set to begin early next year.

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