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Berkeley County motorcyclist dies in collision with car

July 16, 2010

GERRARDSTOWN, W.Va. -- A farm loan manager with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency's office in Martinsburg died Thursday when a car collided with the motorcycle he was riding on W.Va. 45 in southwestern Berkeley County.

David E. Kessel, 51, of 201 Victoria Drive, was on his way to a dairy farm to count cattle that were going to be milked at 4 p.m., his wife, Tammy Kessel, said Friday.

Kessel's 1999 Triumph motorcycle collided with a 1992 Honda Accord driven by Jessica Faircloth of Martinsburg at about 3:30 p.m. Thursday, according to Berkeley County Sheriff's Lt. W.A. Johnson.

Kessel was pronounced dead at the accident scene between the intersection of W.Va. 45 and W.Va. 51/Buck Hill Road and the entrance to Glenwood Forest subdivision, Johnson said Friday.

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Faircloth, who is in her 20s, was being treated for injuries that were not life-threatening at Winchester (Va.) Medical Center, Johnson said Friday.

Deputies found Kessel and the motorcycle along a drop-off on the other side of a guardrail, according to a police press release. The car that Faircloth was driving came to rest along the guardrail, police said.

The accident remained under investigation, Johnson said Friday.

Kessel said her husband of nearly 27 years had worked for FSA in several counties across the state since 1986. They moved to Spring Mills in 2001, she said.

"The man devoted his whole life to FSA," said Tammy Kessel, who added that he "stuck his neck out" for a number of farmers to help them stay afloat.

Outside of work, Kessel said she couldn't keep her husband off of motorcycles, which he loved. David Kessel had a particular interest in AMA Flat Track racing, and an Aug. 7 race at Hagerstown Speedway was on his calendar, she said.

"I've got motorcycle magazines all over the house," Kessel said.

While he was passionate about safety and was very cautious, Kessel said she worried about her husband's well-being.

"I was so afraid he wasn't going to come home one day," Kessel said.

Kessel said her husband was born in Morgantown, W.Va., but considered Hampshire County, where he moved as a boy, to be his home.

They raised three children, Derek, 28, Miranda, 26, and Zebulon, 21.

"He was the love of my life since I was 19," Kessel said. "He was a great man, he really was."

Brown Funeral Home in Martinsburg was handling arrangements.

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