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Autopsy: Man killed in crash with W.Va. school bus was abusing drugs

Mark Allen Diggs of Front Royal, Va., died as a result of multiple blunt force injuries in the May 2 crash

July 17, 2012|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthew.umstead@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A Virginia man who died in May after crashing into a Berkeley County school bus on Interstate 81 was abusing drugs that were not prescribed to him, according to findings released by the state medical examiner’s office.

Mark Allen Diggs, 42, of Front Royal, Va., died as a result of multiple blunt force injuries in the May 2 crash, the state medical examiner’s office said in an autopsy report, which West Virginia State Police Cpl. J.B. Flanigan received recently.

“Contributing to the accident causation (cause) is abuse of non-prescribed oxycodone and alprazolam,” said Flanigan, quoting from the autopsy report he received from Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Matrina Schmidt and Chief Medical Examiner James Kaplan.

Oxycodone is used to relieve moderate to severe pain and alprazolam, more commonly known by the Xanax brand name, is prescribed for anxiety disorders or panic disorders.

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Police found no skid marks or other evidence to suggest Diggs tried to avoid the collision with the southbound bus while traveling north on I-81.

Eleven children aboard the bus bound for Musselman Middle and Musselman High schools were taken to City Hospital in Martinsburg, but none of them was seriously injured, authorities said.

The crash was reported at about 6:45 a.m.

Diggs was pronounced dead at the accident scene near the seven-mile marker in the vicinity of the I-81 exit for Tabler Station Road.

After being struck by the car, the bus veered off the highway into the median, but the driver managed to maintain enough control to prevent the vehicle from overturning as it stopped, police said.

Flanigan said it appeared as if Diggs had the cruise control activated on his vehicle when the crash occurred.

Diggs was thrown into the highway median from the rear of his car, a green Subaru Outback, as a result of the crash, police said.

The state medical examiner’s report indicates Diggs was an unrestrained driver and Flanigan previously said it appeared Diggs was not wearing his seat belt.

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