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Son of Berkeley County Council member killed in one-vehicle crash

Sheriff's Office: Driver pronounced dead at scene after speeding away from traffic stop

August 06, 2011|By DAN DEARTH | dan.dearth@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A Berkeley County, W.Va., man who died Friday night after he allegedly fled from authorities during a traffic stop was the son of a Berkeley County Council member.

Douglas Copenhaver confirmed that his son, Douglas Copenhaver, 22, died Friday night.

“We’ll miss him dearly,” Copenhaver said. “He was hated by few and loved by many. We’ll all miss him. I’m not sure what else to say.”

On Saturday afternoon, the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office issued a press release that did not include the name of the person who died in the accident. News releases commonly list the names of traffic accident victims after the next of kin have been notified.

Berkeley County Sheriff Kenneth Lemaster did not return two phone messages that were left Saturday afternoon and night asking why Copenhaver’s name wasn’t released.

The press release said a 22-year-old man was pulled over in the parking lot of the CVS pharmacy on Edwin Miller Boulevard for having defective equipment. The deputy removed the man from the vehicle because his license was revoked in West Virginia for having a previous arrest for driving under the influence.

At some point during the traffic stop, the man got back into his vehicle and drove away at a high rate of speed, according to the release. The deputy later found that the vehicle had struck a utility pole at the intersection of Edwin Miller Boulevard and District Way.

The man was pronounced dead shortly after emergency personnel arrived at the scene, the release said.

Anyone who witnessed the accident may call the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office at 304-267-7000.

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