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Three Martinsburg residents killed in crash on I-81 in Berkeley County

June 15, 2012|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Berkeley County Sheriff Kenny Lemaster said Thursday that speed was likely a factor in a Wednesday night crash on Interstate 81 south of Martinsburg that sheared a car in two and left three people dead, including a child.

The 2000 Pontiac Grand Prix, which was traveling north, crashed about 11:53 p.m. in the median between the Tablers Station Road and Apple Harvest Drive exits, Lemaster said.

The driver, identified as Rafael Montalvo Cosme, 26, of Martinsburg, and two passengers, Ella Renee Cook, 24, also of Martinsburg, and Cook's 3-year-old son, were killed instantly, Lemaster said.

Family members of the victims were notified Thursday, but the names of the victims were not released until Friday morning.

The bodies of the victims have been sent to a medical examiner for an autopsy to determine if there were any medical issues that might have contributed to the crash, Lemaster said.

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An accident reconstructionist with the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department is working to determine how fast the vehicle might have been traveling, Lemaster said.

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