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Two struck by pickup truck outside W.Va. strip club

June 08, 2009

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- Two Winchester, Va., residents were hospitalized early Sunday after being struck by a pickup on U.S. 11 outside a strip club in Bunker Hill, W.Va., police said.

John Edward Cockrell Jr., 27, was in serious condition Monday in the intensive care unit at City Hospital in Martinsburg and Candice Nicole Helsley, 24, was in fair condition at the hospital, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

The pedestrians were struck by a Dodge Durango as they were running across U.S. 11 from Vixens Gentlemen's Club north of Runnymeade Road, with Helsley riding "piggybacked" on Cockrell, West Virginia State Police 1st Sgt. E.D. Burnett said in a news release.

Troopers J.D. Schuessler and D.M. Hart responded to the accident at 1:17 a.m., Burnett said.

The couple was asked by the club to move their vehicle from a spot where it couldn't be parked, Burnett said.

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The driver, Blake Costello, 26, of Ranson, W.Va., was not injured and Burnett did not anticipate Costello would be charged.

Costello had been drinking alcohol but passed field sobriety tests. The amount of alcohol measured in his blood was below the legal threshold of .08, Burnett said.

A witness told police that Costello was not speeding in an area that is posted at 45 miles per hour, Burnett said.

Upon impact, Helsley was thrown to the west shoulder of U.S. 11 and Cockrell was thrown about 30 to 40 feet and landed in the center of the road, Burnett said in the news release.

The accident remains under investigation, Burnett said.

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