Glenville: Another Accident at Dangerous Intersection

The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press has learned about a three truck accident at the intersection of U.S. Highways 33/119 and WV Highway 5 in the Hays City area of Glenville WV.

The accident happened Friday morning, October 19, 2012.

Reports indicate a female passenger was taken to the hospital.

This the area where vehicles on U.S. Highway 33/119 coming from Linn, WV, turning left on to WV Highway 5 E have more right of way than vehicles going toward Linn, turning right to WV Highway 5 E.

GFP - 10.19.2012
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OddlyEnought™: Florida Man Dies after Eating Roaches and Worms in Contest

The Gilmer Free Press

Authorities are investigating what caused a Florida man to collapse and die after consuming dozens of roaches and worms to win a roach-eating contest that featured a python as the grand prize.

Edward Archbold, age 32, beat out several other contestants who competed for the exotic reptile at the Ben Siegel Reptile Store in Deerfield Beach, Florida on Friday night, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office said.

But Archbold fell ill soon after the contest ended, according to the sheriff’s office.

He collapsed in front of the store and was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Law enforcement said no other contestants reported medical problems after the contest.

Detectives are waiting for autopsy results to determine Archbold’s cause of death.

Kandace Renee Skinner Brown

The Gilmer Free Press

Kandace Renee Skinner Brown

Age 22, of 240 Riverside Drive, Weston, died at 1:30 AM Saturday, September 15, 2012 in the CAMC in Charleston as a result of an auto accident of I-79.

She was born March 09, 1990 in Weston, WV a daughter of Michael Skinner and Melinda Brown Cowgar both who survive in Weston.

Also surviving are her step-father, Gene Cowgar of Weston. Maternal grandparents, Keith and Betty Lowther Brown of Jane Lew, and paternal grandparents, Roy Skinner of Weston and Johnny and Thelma Settles, both of Weston; one brother, Shawn Michael Skinner of VA; two cousins, Neysa and Mickel Brown; step-aunt, Keithia Helmick and several other aunts and uncles; two best friends, Kristy Lynn and Summer King. She was preceded in death by one brother, Joshua Lee Skinner.

Kandace was a cashier at Kroger Fuel Center in Weston.

She was Methodist by faith.

She loved spending time with family and friends.

Friends called at the Pat Boyle Funeral Home and Cremation Service at 144 Hackers Creek Road in Jane Lew, Monday from 4:00 to 8:00 PM.

Funeral services were held at 1:30 PM Tuesday, September 18, from the Pat Boyle Funeral Home and Cremation Service with the Reverend Dewayne Brown assisted by the Reverend Clifford West officiating.

Interment followed in the Forest Lawn Memorial Gardens.

Pat Boyle Funeral Home and Cremation Service is honored and privileged to serve the Brown family.

Neighbor Says Doddridge Man Was Weak

The Gilmer Free Press

A neighbor of the Doddridge County man, who died during a search from West Virginia State Police of his West Union, WV home last week, says she thinks troopers may have used too much force against him.

WV State Police officials say members of the State Police Special Response Team went to the home of Elton Wine,  age 71, last Thursday looking for John Bowman from Doddridge County who was wanted on marijuana growing charges.

They say Wine had an “extensive and violent” criminal history and was initially uncooperative.

At one point, officials claim Wine tried to take a trooper’s gun.

On Tuesday’s The Morning Edition, heard on MetroNews Affiliate WAJR-FM in Clarksburg, Judy Nicholson, who lived near Wine and helped take care of him, said his health would not have allowed for much resistance.

“His health was bad,“ she said.  “He had COPD.  He was very short of wind at the time.  He’d been sick the last couple of days.“

Wine eventually consented to the search.

He died after complaining of shortness of breath and becoming unresponsive while the law enforcement officers were in his home.

WV State Police say EMS workers were called in to help.

Nicholson, though, says she saw evidence of violence in Wine’s home which, she speculates, may have contributed to his death.

“They took him down in the living room.  There was glass off the coffee table busted everywhere,“ she said.

“The coffee table was pushed against the couch and there was blood on the pillow on the couch and you could go on into the kitchen and there was a big puddle of blood in one of Mr. Wine’s chairs.“

Bowman was arrested on Friday night.

Doddridge County: Man Dies During WV State Police Special Response Team Visit

The Gilmer Free Press

The West Virginia State Police say a Doddridge County man died after trying to interfere with a search for a wanted fugitive.

The body of Elton Wine, age 71, from West Union, WV was taken to the state Medical Examiner’s Office for a cause of death determination.

State Police Troopers say members of the State Police Special Response Team went to Wine’s home with a search warrant Thursday looking for John Bowman from Doddridge County who is wanted on marijuana delivery charges.

State Police say both Wine and Bowman have “extensive and violent” criminal histories.

At first, troopers say Wine was uncooperative.

He later relented, though, but then started complaining of difficulty breathing.

Reports indicate E.M.S. was called to help, but Wine became unresponsive and died.

Spencer Officials Raising Money to Buy More Ballistic Vests after 1 Saves Deputy’s Life

The Gilmer Free Press

City of Spencer officials are collecting money to buy up to 10 ballistic vests after a vest apparently saved a deputy sheriff’s life last week.

Roane County Deputy John Westfall was wounded Aug. 28 by 22-year-old Luke Baber of Oak Hill, who shot and killed two state troopers.

Baber also shot and wounded Westfall and a tow truck driver before he was shot and killed by sheriff’s deputies.

Westfall was shot in the arm and abdomen.

Roane County Sheriff Mike Harper said Westfall’s body armor saved his life.

But not every officer in Roane County has a ballistic vest, so Spencer marketing director Jacob Fetty started a fund-raising drive to buy more.

He says nearly $2,000 has been raised.

The vests cost $650 each.

Injuries in Lewis County Crash - Power Line Causes Accident On I-79

The Gilmer Free Press

Traffic was slowed on Interstate 79 in Lewis County this afternoon (Friday, September 07, 2012) after a power line fell across the highway striking a motorcyclist.

Police officials say a motorist struck a utility pole near the 101 mile marker in Lewis County.
The pole went down and so did the power line.

HealthNet Helicopter took one person to the hospital.

The accident happened just a couple of miles north of the Weston/Buckhannon exit.

All lanes were reopened by 3:30 PM.

Teacher among 3 Shot in Doddridge County; Juvenile in Custody

The Gilmer Free Press

Three people are dead after a shooting in Doddridge County, and authorities said Tuesday that a juvenile suspect who is in custody will be charged with first-degree murder.

Doddridge County Sheriff W.C. Underwood said the incident is under investigation and he would not immediately release any further details, but a press release issued late Tuesday afternoon said the suspect is related to the victims.

“We have to be careful about what we say,“ Underwood said.

The chief investigator, Deputy C.W. Modesitt, was at the scene Tuesday and issued a statement saying more details “will be released as they become available.“

School board President Carolyn Bowie said that veteran Ritchie Middle School 7th grade science teacher Dixie Spencer is among those killed Monday evening at the home near West Union.

Bowie said the other victims are the teacher’s husband, Frederick Spencer, a UPS pilot, and their daughter, a Doddridge County elementary student.

Doddridge County Commissioner Ralph Sandora said he knows the family and confirmed that the daughter attended Doddridge County Middle School, while the suspect is a junior at Doddridge County High School.

“It’s been a very hard day for staff and students,“ Bowie said. “It’s a small county so everyone is mourning together. I’m just speechless something like that would happen.“

Grief counselors were at the middle school and adjacent high school Tuesday, and Bowie said they would remain there all week.

Deputy C.W. Modesitt, of the Doddridge County Sheriff’s Department, released the following statement Wednesday:

“Due to the serious nature of this incident and the fact that juveniles are involved, the Doddridge County Sheriff’s Department will not be releasing any additional information on its investigation. Be advised that the Doddridge County Sheriff’s Department, with assistance from the West Virginia State Police, are thoroughly and exhaustively collecting and analyzing every piece of information and evidence linked to this crime. We feel that the privacy and peace of the surviving family members is of chief importance through this ordeal.“

Clay County: A Goodbye Tribute to Trooper

The parking lot was full Tuesday evening at the Clay County High School as visitation was held for fallen West Virginia State Trooper Eric Workman.

Family and friends lined up to pay tribute to Workman.

Workman and fellow State Trooper Corporal Marshall Bailey were shot last week following a traffic stop just off from Interstate 79 at the Wallback Exit.

The Gilmer Free Press

Bailey died at the scene and Workman died Friday in the hospital.

Visitation began at 2:00 PM and concluded at 9:00 PM.

The crowd that gathered included family, friends, community members and fellow State Troopers.

People came out of the high school with mix reactions.

Some had tears as they thought of life without him and some had a smile as they remembered the good times they had with Workman.

One thing was evident though; Workman will be missed by a lot of people.

A public funeral is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon at 2:00 PM at the Charleston Civic Center.

Harrison County Student Takes Her Own Life as Result of Bullying

The Gilmer Free Press

Harrison County school district in North Central West Virginia is dealing with untimely death.

Grief counselors were at Liberty Harrison High School Tuesday where students and staff are dealing with a student death that’s being blamed on bullying.

Ashley McIntyre took her own life Friday, August 31, 2012, and her family says bullying was the reason.

Harrison County School Board President Mike Queen is encouraging people to wear pink as a show of support for Ashley’s family.

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Doddridge County: Shooting Near West Union

The Gilmer Free Press

Update (4:01 PM):

Although the reports available are very sketchy, the juvenile suspect is related to the victims.

The juvenile will be charged with three counts of first degree murder, according to a news release from the Doddridge County Sheriff’s Department.

Also according to Ritchie County Schools one of their teachers was the victim in this multi-shooting incident.

The teacher reported to be Dixie Spencer.

She taught 7th grade science at Ritchie County Middle School.


Update (11:52 AM):

According to Doddridge County Sheriff Department the suspect is a juvenile and in custody.


The Doddridge County 911 received calls about a shooting about 6:00 PM, Monday night, September 03, 2012.

Doddridge County Sheriff and the WV State Police responded to the scene in West Union.

According to reports the shooting happened on Matson Road near WV Hwy 18 N.

Reports indicate multiple people were shot and the shooter is custody.

However, neither Doddridge County 911 nor the police officials confirm any of the reports on the number of victims and whether the shooter is in custody.

Shootings Suspect Had Other Run-ins with Law

The Gilmer Free Press

A man who fatally shot two West Virginia troopers and wounded two others had previous run-ins with the law, including a 2009 incident in which he told officers that he wanted police to kill him.

West Virginia State police say Luke Baber, age 22, of Oak Hill, WV fatally shot Cpl. Marshall Lee Bailey and wounded Trooper Eric Workman, who later died at the hospital at the Wallback park-and-ride off Interstate 79 during a traffic stop Tuesday night, August 25, 2012.

Baber also wounded a tow truck driver and Roane County Sheriff’s Deputy John Westfall before he was killed in a shootout with other officers.

Baber threatened his parents with a weapon that turned out to be a BB gun in 2009.

Baber struggled with Fayette County sheriff’s deputies who responded to the incident and told them after he was in custody that he wanted police to kill him, according to a criminal complaint.

Fayette County Sheriff Steve Kessler said Baber was charged in that incident with domestic assault and obstructing an officer.
“To my knowledge, he pleaded guilty and went to jail,“ Kessler told the Charleston Daily Mail.

Baber was charged in January with uttering but the charge was later dismissed after no victim appeared in Fayette County Magistrate Court.

Oak Hill Police Chief Mike Whisman said Baber was charged in July 2010 with destruction of property and in July 2011 with petty theft.

“He was known to us,“ Whisman told the Daily Mail. “I’m not sure if I’d say well-known.“

Baber’s aunt, Janet Baber, said the family is devastated by Tuesday’s shootings. She said the family reached out to WV State Police to offer condolences and thank troopers for their service.

“We are just very sad for those policemen and for their families — those innocent people,“ she told the Charleston Gazette.

Janet Baber said her nephew “just had problems and it got the best of him.“

Those problems included drug abuse, according to Janet Baber and Laura Maroney, a friend of Luke Baber’s.

“His friends knew about his drug problems,“ Maroney told the Daily Mail. “But he was a very private person. I’d ask him about it, but he didn’t want to talk about it.“

Marone and other friends asked Luke Baber to get help. “But it seemed like he didn’t want help,“ she said.

Brian Hamilton said he and Baber had been best friends since age 12. They had planned to go fishing Tuesday night but the plan was canceled.

“If we went fishing, that would have never happened to him or the police or anyone,“ Hamilton told WSAZ-TV. “It would have been better for everyone all around.“

Bailey’s funeral is set for 2:00 PM Sunday at the Charleston Civic Center, according to Gatens-Harding Funeral Home in Poca .

No arrangements has been made for Workman’s funeral at this time.

Parkersburg: Young Girl Dies in Hot Car

The Gilmer Free Press

The Wood County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the death of a young girl who was found in a car Thursday evening (08.30.12).

Wood County Sheriff Jeff Sandy says the girl, believed to be two or three-years-old, was found in a car in Aqua Asles Trailer Court at around 5:30 PM.

Sheriff Sandy says an investigation is underway.

He says he is not sure if the death was intentional or an accident.

He does believe she was in the car for a long period of time.

The high temperature in the Parkersburg area Thursday was 89 degrees.

GFP - 08.31.2012

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Trooper Shooting Update: No Improvement for Injured Trooper

Update: 3:59 PM

Funeral arrangements set for State Trooper Marshall Bailey:

Visitation will be from 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM on Saturday, August 31, 2012.

The funeral will be held at Gatens-Harding Funeral Home in Poca, WV.

A funeral service will be at 2:00 PM on Sunday, September 01, 2012 at the Charleston Civic Center.


The West Virginia State Police trooper, shot by a suspect on Tuesday is still in critical condition at Charleston Area Medical Center while work to plan a funeral for another State Police trooper continues.

West Virginia State Police Spokesperson Sgt. Michael Baylous said Thursday morning Trooper Eric Workman from Clay County remained in a coma and on life support.

“We need people to continue with their prayers and concerns and we need prayer for strength,“ Sgt. Baylous said.

The Gilmer Free Press
Trooper Eric Workman

Sgt. Baylous says video from the cruiser shows Luke Baber, age 22, from Fayette County was patted down during his arrest for reckless driving in a stolen pickup truck Tuesday night near the Wallback exit off Interstate 79.

Later, though, Baber was able to get to a 9 mm handgun he was carrying and shot the two troopers who had arrested him from the back of the cruiser.  Both were shot in the head and neck areas.

Sgt. Baylous says it looks like the troopers just missed the gun during the search.

“That happens,“ he said.  “How many times do we see, almost on a daily basis, where someone is going through a security checkpoint, whether it’s at a courthouse or an airport or wherever, and even with all the modern technology they have available, sometimes it just happens.“

Trooper Workman survived the shooting but is seriously injured.  Corporal Marshall Bailey, age 42, from Putnam County was killed.  Corporal Bailey had been with State Police for 17 years.

As of Thursday morning, funeral arrangements for him had not been finalized.

Sgt. Baylous says everyone is in mourning, “You go through the same life experiences, you know what’s going on with them.“

Baber was shot by deputies from Roane County and Clay County during his fleeing attempt.

John Westfall, a Roane County Sheriff’s deputy, who was shot by Baber during his escape attempt could be released from the hospital within a couple of days.

A tow truck driver from Kings Wrecker Service who also responded to the scene is now at home, recovering from his injuries.

GFP - 08.30.2012
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West Virginia State Police Release Official Details on Last Night’s Incident in Clay County

Last night at approximately 7:30 PM, two West Virginia State Troopers pulled over a car for reckless driving at the Wallback Park and Ride off of I-79 in Clay County.

The suspect, Mr. Luke Baber of Oak Hill, WV from was taken into custody and placed in the back of a State Police cruiser.

The Gilmer Free Press
Corporal Marshall Lee Bailey

While the two Troopers were awaiting a wrecker to tow the suspect’s vehicle, it is believed that Mr. Baber shot both officers with a gun he had in his possession when he was apprehended.

Several minutes later, King’s Wrecker Service arrived on the scene. The driver of the wrecker, William Massey, was shot in the arm by Mr. Baber but he was able to escape and call for help within minutes. Mr. Baber then fled the scene on foot.

A short time later, Sheriff Deputies from Clay and Roane County encountered Mr. Baber in a wooded area at which time gunfire was exchanged, resulting in the suspect’s death.

Corporal Marshall Lee Bailey died at the scene as a result of the injuries he received.

Trooper Eric Michael Workman was also shot; he was transported to Charleston Area Medical Center, where he is currently listed in critical condition.

Roane County Deputy Sheriff John Westfall was also injured. Deputy Westfall was shot by the suspect in a wooded area shortly before Mr. Baber was killed. He was transported to Charleston Area Medical Center; his injuries appear to be non-life threatening, and his condition is currently being evaluated.

“This has been a very difficult day for our law enforcement community. This afternoon, I’d ask all West Virginians to pray for the family of the courageous State Police Trooper who was killed in the line of duty, and for the other three individuals who were injured and remain in the hospital,“ said Governor Tomblin. “This terrible tragedy reminds us of the sacrifices our law enforcement officers make every day to keep us safe. Please keep them in your prayers.“

“First and foremost, I’d like thank all of the local and federal agencies who assisted in our efforts to locate the suspect. We had an outpouring of support, and we’re very appreciative of the collaborative effort that helped us located Mr. Baber so quickly,“ said Col. Smithers. “This afternoon, I’d ask all West Virginias to pray for the family of Corporal Bailey. I’d also ask folks to continue to pray for the other individuals who were injured.“

Shooter Had Criminal Record

Luke Baber, the 22-year-old Oak Hill man whose rampage last night in Clay County left one state trooper dead, another critically injured, a third officer wounded and a fourth person with gunshot wounds, had been in trouble with the law before.

The Gilmer Free Press
Luke Baber

According to Fayette County Magistrate Court records, Baber was arrested in 2009 on misdemeanor charges of domestic battery, domestic assault, obstruction of an officer and simple possession.

The court clerk says the records show Baber pleaded guilty to domestic battery and obstructing an officer.

He was fined and sentenced to six months in jail, but the sentence was suspended and he was ordered to perform community service.

The court records show that Baber was arrested again earlier this year, this time on felony charges of uttering, which is similar to forgery.

It is unclear what the disposition of those charges was.

Baber was shot and killed by sheriff’s deputies as he tried to flee the crime scene last night. 

Baber’s Friends Speak..

Friends who knew 22-year old Luke Baber of Oak Hill, WV are shocked at the news of his violent death.

“He was a close friend, and because of that it’s hard to imagine someone is capable of doing something like that,“ said friend Riley McCoy. “He was a good guy, who was willing to help out anyone in any time of need. He smiled a lot, and had a lot of life.“

Other friends shared stories of the 2008 Oak Hill graduate on their Facebook pages.  He enjoyed riding his bike and hanging out with friends.

“So surreal right now. I just saw him over the weekend and now he’s gone? Just like that?!“ posted one friend. “So crazy.“

Another close friend offered a post which may shed more light into what happened Tuesday night.  Baber was shot and killed by deputies near Wallback after he engaged in a shootout with State Police who had pulled him over. 

“I’m not justifying what Luke did tonight was right because it wasn’t under any circumstances.  I understand the law enforcers did what they had to do,“ wrote a close acquaintance, “But that doesn’t change the past or the relationship that I shared with Luke. Luke was on drugs, and they influenced his way of thinking tonight.“

Friends say Baber had been battling substance abuse for some time.  McCoy says getting into a shootout with law enforcement wasn’t anything anyone would have expected from him.

“I witnessed once he was threatened to get into a fight at a party and he actually backed down and used rationality to avoid the fight. That makes what happened last night even more staggering, and shocking,“ McCoy said. “To say I loved him is an understatement but I’m still reeling from what has happened.“

“The real Luke I know and love would have never done anything like this. He wasn’t perfect, no one is, and he made a wrong choice tonight, but ill still never forget him or look down on him.” writes one friend. “My heart goes out to all the families affected by this tragic event.”

Bulletproof Vest Saved Roane Deputy’s Life

The Roane County deputy shot in Tuesday’s tragic encounter in Clay County is expected to make a full recovery.

Deputy John Westfall was searching for suspect Luke Baber, who had just shot two West Virginia State Troopers. Westfall and several Clay County deputies were searching a wooded area near the Wallback park-and-night when shots were fired and he was hit in the wrist, left shoulder and abdomen by Baber. Baber was killed in the return fire.

The bulletproof vest he was wearing saved the deputy’s life. Westfall had to have surgery on the more serious shoulder injury.

Roane County Prosecutor Josh Downey visited Westfall in the hospital at CAMC Tuesday night.

“He is going to be OK,” Downey said on MetroNews Talkline Wednesday morning. “But he’s going to have a road to haul in his recovery and rehabilitation with that shoulder because of the placement of the injury.“

Downey says even though Westfall was in pain he was making the best of the situation.

“He was in as good a spirits as you can possibly be, attempting to joke with some of the other officers who were there, trying to lighten the situation.“

Downey says from what Westfall told him, the deputy never fired his gun. In fact, the prosecutor doesn’t believe any of the Roane County deputies involved in the manhunt fired a shot. But he stresses that is still under investigation.

While Westfall is healing, he and the other members of the force are keeping the families of the two troopers in their thoughts and prayers.

“All these guys know each other. They work with each other. They’ve got each other’s back. You could see that last night at the hospital,“ said Downey

No word on when Westfall will be released from CAMC.

WV Troopers Gather at CAMC as Injured Trooper Clings to Life

West Virginia State Police Troopers rushed to Clay County and to Charleston after two troopers were shot at the Wallback park-and-ride Tuesday night.

One trooper from the Clay Detachment was killed by a motorist troopers had pulled over not long before.

A second trooper was taken to Charleston Area Medical Center after suffering critical injuries in the shooting.

The Gilmer Free Press

WV State Police Spokesman Sgt. Mike Baylous says troopers went to both locations to help with the investigation and to support their fellow troopers and their families.

“It’s a band of brothers and when something like this happens that’s when you see the true character of all of those you work with,“ Baylous said.

Troopers at CAMC lined the outside walls of the hospital, many times huddling to pass along new information from inside.

Several of the troopers stayed the night.

The State Police have not released the names of the troopers involved.

The name of the suspect, who was shot and killed by a Clay County deputy, has also not been released.

Sgt. Baylous says the tragic events of Tuesday will be very difficult to deal with in the months to come.

“We don’t know why these things happen. We just don’t know,“ Baylous said. “But all we can do is keep our trust and faith in God Almighty and know that everything works in his plan.“

Clay County: Two State Troopers Shot

The Gilmer Free Press


One of the troopers is dead, the other one is in the hospital with severe injuries and a Roane County Deputy is injured and the suspect dead.

Reports indicate a tow truck driver was also hurt in the incident.

The suspect accused of killing one trooper and seriously injuring another trooper and a Roane County Deputy is dead after being shot by officers following a brief chase.


Two State Police Troopers were shot Tuesday night near the Wallback exit of Interstate 79.

A manhunt is underway for the suspect.

The shootings took place at the park-n-ride just off the Wallback exit.

Reports indicate the man police believe responsible for the shootings is covered in blood and on foot in the area.

Reports also say he stole a gun belonging to one of the troopers.

Troopers are being flown to nearby hospitals.

Again no word on their conditions.

Shooting Report in Gilmer County

The Gilmer Free Press

Update 08.17.12:

Elise Coen still at Ruby Memorial.

She was shot in the back and bullet still lodged in her body.

Larry Bush who was hit in the head with a baseball bat is in Trauma Center in Charleston.


Update 08.15.12:

Shooting happened as the result of a domestic dispute.

Larry Bush, age 40, shot Elsie Coen, age 48, in the back during a domestic dispute.

Bush then left the shooting scene, and when he returned he was hit by another man with a baseball bat.

As the result they are both in the hospital.


According to various reports received by the Gilmer Free Press there has been a shooting on Lower Cedar Creek Road close to WV highway 5 W.

The Gilmer County law officials are not releasing any information at this time.

The reports indicates a woman was shot by a man Monday evening, August 13, 2012.

The woman was flown to Ruby Memorial in Morgantown via the HealthNet.

A Deadly Saturday in West Virginia

The Gilmer Free Press

Past Saturday was a particularly deadly one on West Virginia highways as five people were killed in separate accidents.

Police in McDowell County say a head-on collision Saturday morning near Panther claimed the life of one of the drivers. The victim was 23.

An investigation continues in Beckley where a bicyclist was hit by a car at around Noon on Saturday near the intersection of Third Ave. and First Street. The bicyclist died at Raleigh General Hospital.

A crash on Interstate 81 in Berkeley County claimed a man’s life Saturday afternoon. The 62-year-old victim died after he lost control of his car and it flipped over.

A motorcycle wreck in Monroe County at around 2:30 PM Saturday afternoon claimed the life a 63-year-old man. The victim, William Norman Jones of Grandview was involved in the wreck on Route 3 near Sweet Springs.

Sheriff’s deputies in Nicholas County say a man was killed Saturday night after losing control of his vehicle on U.S. Highway 19 near Birch River. James Edward Lawson, age 32, Birch River died at Summersville Regional Medical Center.

There was also a deadly accident Friday night in Hampshire County on Ford Hill Road near Rio. Police say Shawn Bowman, age 42, of Cumberland, Maryland died after losing control of his car.

Jackson County: Girl, Age 3, Dies in Family Vehicle

The Gilmer Free Press

A young girl is dead after she was accidentally left in the family van after Sunday worship service on July 22, 2012.

The two adults arrived at their home in Silverton, WV in Jackson County early afternoon.

The 3-year-old was in the back seat asleep.

When the adults got out of the vehicle each thought the other had the girl with them.

It took the family between two and three hours to realize the child was missing.

By that time the temperature was 87-degrees.

Once they got to the girl, she was dead.

Investigators say most likely charges will be filed.

Roane County: I-79 Wreck Claims Four Lives

The Gilmer Free Press


West Virginia State Police on Sunday identified the victims of the Saturday afternoon accident. 

Tavon Jamal Frisby, age 20, of Baltimore, MD, was heading north in a sedan with friend Cameron Marcus Shields, age 19, also of Baltimore, when his vehicle veered across the grassy median and into the path of a southbound car.

The southbound car was driven by Steven Ranjo, age 40, and also occupied by his 88-year-old father, Leo Ranjo, said Trooper P.S. Fisher of the Spencer detachment.

The Ranjos lived in Philadelphia and were on their way to Huntington to visit an ill family member. 


Four people are dead after a head-on crash on Interstate 79 in Roane County.

The collision took place Saturday afternoon, June 21, 2012 near the Wallback exit at around 4:30 PM when a vehicle going north went across the median and struck a southbound vehicle.

There were two victims in each.

The names of the victims have not been released.

It appears both vehicles had out of state license plates.

Harrison County: ‘Nothing Short Of A Miracle’

The Gilmer Free Press

Just a week after being struck by lightning while attending church camp, Zachary Sandy, age 18, has been discharged from the West Penn Burn Center in Pittsburgh, PA and is expected to make a full recovery.

“From where he was last Wednesday to where he is today is nothing short of a miracle,” said his father Randy. “There’s nothing else to explain it.”

Zachary, a recent graduate of Robert C. Byrd High School in Harrison County, was attending a church camp in Parkersburg on July 11, 2012 when his father got word that his son had been struck by lightning and his life hung in the balance.

Paramedics said Zachary was without a pulse for 15 to 20 minutes and three different times doctors contemplated pronouncing the 18 year-old dead.

However, paramedics were able to get a pulse back and Zachary was flown to the West Penn Burn Center.

Zachary was initially placed on life support but little by little family and doctors saw improvement in him every day.

“We prayed for him to live. We prayed for a pulse, for him to wake up, for him to talk, for him to wake up,” recalls Russell Sandy.

Russell says his son is still experiencing some short-term memory loss and is a little wobbly on his feet but doctors have assured him his son is going to make a full recovery.

“He’s been texting on his phone, he’s been on Facebook,” chuckled Russell.

Zachary will now continue his rehab at Healthsouth in Morgantown.

I-79 - Wreck Forces Long Detour

The Gilmer Free Press

I-79 South Reopened In Roane County


Southbound lanes at 36 mile marker in Roane County reopened after crews clear wreckage from morning tractor trailer crash.


A tractor trailer crash Monday morning in Roane County has closed both southbound lanes just about a mile north of the Amma exit.

As the result there is a long detour for southbound motorists on Interstate 79 today.

Southbound interstate traffic is being detoured off the Wallback exit onto state Route 36 to Clay and then south on state Route 4 to Clendenin in Kanawha County where motorists are directed to U.S. Route 119 and back to the interstate.

The large truck went through the guardrail and there is work to try to get the wreckage back on the interstate and hauled away.

Roane County Man Files FOIA Suit to Get Answers to Daughter’s Death, Disappearance

The Gilmer Free Press

The WV Record Reports:

A Roane County man whose teenage daughter went missing for seven years before her body was finally discovered near the Wirt/Roane county line is seeking answers as to why her disappearance, and death remain unsolved.

Jesse Starcher on June 27 filed suit against the West Virginia State Police, the Roane County 911 Center and the city of Spencer in Kanawha Circuit Court.

In his complaint, Starcher, 49, of Spencer, seeks an order compelling them to release under the state Freedom of Information Act documents in their possession relating to his daughter, Christian Dawn Starcher Seabolt who, then 18-years-old, went missing nearly a decade ago, and whose remains were later discovered in 2009.

In his 26-page complaint, Starcher details how he attempted to get answers from the State Police’s Roane County detachment, the city of Spencer and the 911 Center about Christian’s disappearance on Aug. 31, 2002.

Records show requests he made starting in 2004 were denied on the grounds that information he was requesting were part of an on-going investigation.

Shortly after Christian’s skeletal remains were discovered on Groundhog Ridge near Creston on Dec. 16, 2009, Starcher again made requests for information, including an emergency call Christian made to the 911 Center the day before she went missing.

All his requests, which were made as late as August were denied either on the grounds of, again, a pending investigation or his failure to state with specificity the information he was requesting.

In his suit, Starcher openly accuses Hueston M. Eads, a Spencer police officer, of either having knowledge of or being complicit in Christian’s disappearance.

At his suggestion, Starcher says Christian spoke with Eads about information she had relating to the murder of Ronnie Stag. 

According to Starcher, Christian “implicated several Clay County law enforcement officers in drug-related activity.“

Also, Starcher maintains that sometime after Christian went missing, Judd Reed, who accompanied her on several occasions to speak with Eads, was murdered.
Though he was “dismissive of Christian’s story,“ Starcher says Eads was “successful in involving himself into both the handling of Christian Starcher’s disappearance and the investigation of the murder of Judd Reed, in spite of the fact that the murder unquestionably occurred outside his jurisdiction, namely, outside Spencer and in rural Roane County.“

In his suit, Starcher says that the excuse offered by the State Police, the 911 Center and the city of Spencer in denying his FOIA requests on the grounds “that a genuine investigation of the matter was ongoing” is “a sham.“

Instead, he says “the report of investigation and the contents of the tape are being withheld from him primarily to protect law-enforcement personnel who may have had some level of responsibility in [Christian’s] disappearance.“

Along with one compelling release of the information he’s requested, Starcher seeks another ordering the State Registrar of Vital Statistics to issue a death certificate for Christian so he can qualify as administrator of her estate in order to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Also, he seeks recovery of court costs, and attorneys fees. 

Starcher is represented by Charleston attorney David R. Karr Jr.

The case is assigned to Judge Paul Zakaib.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 12-C-1204

~~  Lawrence Smith - WV Record ~~

Lightning Causes Damage in Roane County

The Gilmer Free Press

The thunderstorms on Tuesday, July 03, 2012 caused significant damage in Roane County, WV.

A home on Triplett Road, just outside Spencer was struck by lightning and caught fire.

The same thing happened to a barn on Toms Run in Reedy.

The Man Trailer Court in Spencer received significant damage from thunderstorms as well.

ATV Crash Kills Toddler in Calhoun County


An ATV wreck kills a 2-year-old and injures a three-year-old sibling.

It happened in Calhoun County, Saturday night June 30, 2012 on Beech Road.

Police say the children’s father was driving an ATV with the two children around 10:45 PM at night when they plunged over a hillside.

Little Reagen McKown died of her injuries a short time later at the hospital.

Nelson Edward “Eddie” Bailey

The Gilmer Free Press

Nelson Edward “Eddie” Bailey

Age 34 of Cox’s Mills, WV departed this life suddenly at 9:29 PM Wednesday June 20, 2012 on Sangtown Road (Ritchie County)as a result of an ATV accident.

He was born on February 15, 1978 in Parkersburg, West Virginia, son of Carlous B. and Priscilla Davidson Bailey.

Eddie was a graduate of Gilmer County High School class of 1997. He worked at FCI Gilmer as a Guard and enjoyed hunting with a special interest in rabbit hunting. He was a member of the Mountain State Beagle Association, Fraternal Order of Police, National Rifle Association,  4H All Star, FFA.

He was a Protestant by faith.

Eddie was a wonderful father, son, brother, partner and friend. He was loved and adored by all who knew him and will be greatly missed by numerous cousins and friends.

Along with his parents, Eddie is survived by (fiancée) Heather McCown and their 2 sons Hunter and Paden of Cox’s Mills, West Virginia.

Also surviving are; (3 brothers) “Little” Carlous Bailey and wife Hope of Cox’s Mills; Roger Osborne and wife Annette of Charleston, West Virginia; and Bruce Osborne and wife Tressie of Brunswick, Ohio.

He is survived by 3 nephews and 2 nieces; Shane Moyers, and wife Tracy of Wilsie, West Virginia; Tyler Moyers, wife Brandy and son Daniel of Cox’s Mill, WV; Daniel Adams and wife Erin of Troy, West Virginia; Jessica Goodrich, husband Steve and son Trayton of Normantown, West Virginia; and Aunna Osborne of Charleston, WV.

Also surviving is Paternal Grandfather Chester Bailey of Cox’s Mills.

He was preceded in death by his Paternal Grandmother Athilene Bailey, Maternal Grandfather Kenneth Davidson, and Maternal Grandparents Gladys and Roger Sutphin.

Funeral Services will be conducted at the Ellyson Mortuary Inc. Glenville West Virginia, at 1:00 PM, Sunday June 24, 2012 with Pastor Bryan Groves officiating.

Burial will follow in the Horn Creek Cemetery, Cox’s Mills WV.

Friends may call 4:00 to 8:00 PM Saturday at the mortuary.

Ellyson Mortuary is assisting the family of Nelson E. “Eddie” Bailey with arrangements.

Woman Killed, Two Others Injured in Crash

The Gilmer Free Press

A Nicholas County woman was killed and two men were injured when a car was struck from behind by a tractor-trailer.

Jean A. Cogar, age 78, of Summersville, WV, was killed, according to a statement from the Nicholas County Sheriff’s Department.

She was a passenger in a car driven by James D. Cogar, age 52, of Summersville, WV.

A tractor-trailer operated by Foster M. Marsh, 76, of Glenville, WV, rear-ended the car about 4:15 PM Sunday, June 10, 2012, at the intersection of U.S. Hwy 19 and WV Hwy 41 in Mt. Nebo.

The two men were injured. One was transported to Summersville Regional Medical Center and the other to Charleston Area Medical Center, but the release gave no further details.

Fatal Crash in Clay County

The Gilmer Free Press

A fatal single car crash on I-79 in Clay County, WV, claimed the life of a man early Monday afternoon, June 11, 2012.

The accident happened just past the Wallback exit around 1:00 PM.

West Virginia State Police say the driver of an SUV was traveling southbound in the fast lane when he went into the gravel.

The driver over corrected, went back over the road, over a hill and rolled into a tree.

The driver was pronounced dead at the scene.

The victim’s name has not been released.

The crash is still under investigation. 

Gas Drilling Triggers Backyard Geysers in West Virginia

The Gilmer Free Press

Authorities say a gas drilling operation in the Sardis area hit an aquifer and inadvertently re-pressurized a handful of old water wells Wednesday, June 06,2012, creating a backyard geyser at least 10 feet high and several smaller gushers.

The house with the 10- to 12-foot geyser was flooded, said Paul Bump, chief of the Harrison County Bureau of Emergency Services.

At three or four other homes, the water flooded yards and garages.

“It looked like Old Faithful moved out East,“ said Dale Sturm, a 63-year-old retired carpenter who noticed his patio was wet shortly before 7:00 AM.

Sturm said he went outside to investigate and found water “blowing up under my car” from a crack that had opened in the cement about a foot from the garage door.

The residents’ wells have long been disconnected from the indoor plumbing because the homes are all on a public water supply and don’t use them for drinking.

“It’s not a danger to anyone. It’s more of a nuisance,“ said Bump, adding that the residents he spoke to were surprisingly calm. “Can you imagine, waking up to drink your first cup of coffee and see water shooting out of your yard?“

Colorado-based Antero Resources was in the early stages of drilling a well and was using only water and possibly a nontoxic soap when it hit the aquifer, said Kathy Cosco, spokeswoman for the state Department of Environmental Protection.

When the well was pressurized, it re-pressurized the old drinking water wells, too.

An official with Antero did not immediately return messages. Cosco said such accidents are rare.

An investigation will be done, but it’s too soon to determine whether Antero committed any violations or fines, she said.

Water is being tested from one home where the well was still linked to an outdoor hose used for gardening, and Cosco said the company will be responsible for testing water from the other wells to ensure it’s not harmful.

Sturm, meanwhile, spent the day on a neighbor’s porch, reluctant to take his daughter and grandchild home for fear flammable and explosive oil and gas could be in the water.

He watched the water pour into the drainage area around his foundation and scooped up a few samples to be tested. Though the gusher eventually tapered off, Sturm said he could still hear it gurgling Wednesday afternoon when he put his ear to the crevice.

Antero’s operation is about 1,000 yards behind his house on a hill, and until now, it hadn’t concerned him.

But if water can get into the crack, he now wonders, why couldn’t flammable oil or gas?

“Natural gas could get in that crevice and filter into my house. And if it hits your water heater, there’s an explosion and there goes your house,“ he said. “I’ve not had anybody ease my mind that I can bring my family home.“

Doddridge County: The Sheriff’s Department Is Looking for Missing Man

The Gilmer Free Press

Update: 06.02.12

Ike King, who was reported missing on Thursday has been located, according to the Doddridge County Sheriff’s Office.

The Sheriff’s Office says King was located and picked up in Elkins and is now in custody.

Officials could not confirm when or how King was located.


The Doddridge County Sheriff’s Department is looking for a missing man.

Ike Byron King, age 38, was apparently last seen around 4:00 PM Thursday afternoon, May 31, 2012, near 2nd and Main Street in Weston.

Sheriff’s Deputies say he was supposedly on a mountain bike at the time.
Ike is 5’11’‘, and he weighs about 210 pounds.

He has dark complexion and brown hair.

Officials are not sure what he was wearing or where he might be heading, but family members said he has been working at a cemetery in Bridgeport.
Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call 304.873.1408 or the Doddridge/Ritchie County 911 Center at 304.659.3770.

State Police Superintendent Calls Last Weekend “Challenging” For Troopers

The Gilmer Free Press

West Virginia State Police Superintendent Col. Jay Smithers says the Memorial Day Weekend was the “most challenging” for law enforcement in West Virginia than he can recall in his 38-year career.

State Troopers and officers from other law enforcement agencies investigated murders, deadly shootings and fatal traffic accidents.

Smithers says many first responders missed the opportunity over the long weekend to be with their families and reflect on the men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

“Therefore, I want to express my sincere appreciation, not only the men and women of the West Virginia State Police, but all first responders who willingly gave of themselves this holiday weekend and accomplished the daunting tasks set before them,“ Smithers said in a prepared release.

The fatal traffic accidents began with three separate crashes Friday afternoon and night.

William Fontaine of Columbus, Ohio died on U.S. Route 35 in Mason County when his truck slammed into a tractor-trailer head-on; Kristen Stiltner, 17, of Wayne was killed in a wreck on Camp Branch Road in Wayne County and Justus Ratliff, 16, of Parkersburg, died late Friday night when a vehicle he was in rolled over near Elizabeth in Wirt County.

State Police say a Maryland man was killed Saturday in an ATV accident in Tucker County. Troopers say Bernard Ritz III, 37, of Abingdon, Maryland, lost control of his four-wheeler on High Run Road and crashed into a rock embankment.

A weekend camping trip turned tragic for a Harrison County family. The family’s truck kicked out of gear Sunday morning at Five Points and rolled over a tent where two young boys were sleeping. Troopers say Jax Lattea, age 3, of Salem was killed. A six-year-old boy was treated and released.

The deadly weekend also included a shooting at the Elm Grove Pharmacy in Wheeling.

Troopers say Kevin Lee Walnoha, age 37, of Wellsburg came into the pharmacy. He jumped behind the counter, waved a gun and demanded pills from a worker. Another pharmacy worker came from a back office and shot and killed Walnoha. The investigation continues.

Troopers also assisted Charleston City Police in the recovery of a body from the Elk River. The man was murdered. And State Police is the lead investigative agency into a quadruple murder in Nicholas County.

Spencer: Teacher Injured

The Gilmer Free Press

Update 05.25.12 1:30 PM:

A state official says a fourth grade teacher at Spencer Elementary School in Roane County was not beaten by students Thursday.

“The initial investigation shows the reports that the teacher was attacked are not true.  It appears the incident was horseplay that got out of hand,“ West Virginia Department of Education Office of Communications Director Liza Cordeiro said.

“Because this is a personnel issue and students are involved, we cannot say more right now, but we will release more information when we can do so.“

4th grade students dressing in ninja suite just jump on their 4th grade teacher dropping her on the ground.

The teacher was treated for an undisclosed injury and released from Charleston Area Medical Center after the incident involving several students.

On Thursday, State Police Sgt. Michael Baylous said troopers at the Spencer detachment were aware of the incident.  No charges have been filed.



The West Virginia State Police say they are prepared to respond when asked in connection with an incident Thursday, May 24, 2012 at Spencer Elementary School.

State Police spokesman Sgt. Mike Baylous says a fourth-grade teacher at the school was injured after several of her students allegedly beat her.

The school has been having outdoor activities all week.

As part of the activities three 4th grade students dressing in ninja suite jump on their 4th grade teacher dropping her on the ground.

Reports indicate she had to go to the local emergency room and then to Charleston (CMAC) where she was treated and released.

Of the fourth-grade teachers listed on the county schools website, Ann Carper was the only one listed as a patient at CAMC Women and Children’s Hospital in Charleston Thursday.

A hospital spokeswoman said Carper had been treated and released.

Sgt. Baylous says troopers at the Spencer detachment are aware of the situation and will get involved if the situation reaches that point.

Elkins: Lena Lunsford Sentencing Set For Tuesday 05.22.12


Sentencing for Lunsford is set for 2:30 PM Tuesday afternoon, May 22. 2012.  in the U.S. Northern District Court of West Virginia for Lena Lunsford.

Lunsford, age 29, pleaded guilty in January to a single count of federal welfare fraud.

Lunsford had been charged with six counts of federal welfare fraud for selling her Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program or SNAP card.

As part of the plea agreement five of those counts were dismissed.

Prosecutors say she sold $114 dollars’ worth of welfare benefits.

The welfare fraud came to light during the FBI’s investigation into the disappearance of her three-year-old daughter Aliayah.

Aliyah disappeared from her Lewis Count home in September and there has not been any sign of her since.

Authorities have had very few leads, no suspects, made no arrests and have refused to speculate as to what may have happened to the little girl.

Volunteer search efforts have continued, including Joe “The Bloodhound” Nick and Hunter Glass coming to West Virginia in effort to find the girl.

Lunsford is facing a maximum of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 and restitution.

Lunsford is currently free on bond.

OddlyEnough™: Man Bitten by Rattlesnake at Walmart


When Mica Craig reached down to brush what he thought was a stick off some mulch in the garden section of a Washington state Walmart, it turned around and sank its fangs into his hand.

The encounter with a rattlesnake sent Craig, age 47, to the hospital, where he said he remained in excruciating pain and may lose feeling in two fingers. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has apologized.

“I reached down to grab the stick to move it out of the way, and the snake stretched out, turned around and got its fangs in my right hand,“ he said. “I slung it off and I did a tap dance on it until it was dead.“

Craig was rushed to the hospital by fellow customer Maria Geffre, who told Reuters she saw him crumple to the ground after crying out that he had been bitten by a snake.

“He had punctures on his hand and there was the dead rattler he’d stomped on,“ Geffre said, describing the snake as at least a foot long with four buttons, or rattles.

Craig, a married father of two, said the mulch was for his marijuana plants, which he is licensed to grow for medical reasons. It was unclear whether the snake came from an adjacent field or arrived at the store along with garden supplies.

Craig said doctors who initially thought the snake had inflicted only a “dry bite” - or one that did not inject venom - treated him with six bags of anti-venom after his right hand swelled to the size of a melon.

A Walmart spokeswoman offered an apology to Craig and said the retailer was looking into how the incident could have happened at the store in Clarkston, in eastern Washington.

“At this point, it appears to be an isolated incident. We are working with a pest management team, which is conducting a sweep of the property to ensure there is no additional rattlesnake activity,“ Walmart spokeswoman Kayla Whaling said.

Travis Taggart, director of the Center for North American Herpetology, said about half of documented rattlesnake bites, which are usually defensive when directed at humans, are “dry” but still cause severe pain.

Ritchie County: Woman Flown to Hospital

The Gilmer Free Press

The West Virginia State Police in Ritchie County are working to find out what caused an accident that sent one woman to the hospital Friday afternoon, May 04, 2012.

The woman was driving on Oxford Road when she somehow lost control of a motorcycle and ran into a tree.

She was being flown to Ruby Memorial Hospital for her injuries.

Ritchie County Man Dies in Lewis County Accident


Ryan Meredith Scott, age 29, of Smithville, Ritchie County, WV, lost control of the vehicle and drove off the left side of the road, rolled over and rested on its top resulting in loss of his life.

The accident happened late Friday, April 20, 2012 on U.S. Highway 33 in Lewis County.

Scott was trapped in the vehicle and later died at Stonewall Jackson Hospital.

Accidental Death Rate for Children Declines in West Virginia


Fewer West Virginia children and teenagers are dying from accidental injuries than in the past.

A new government report shows that in West Virginia the death rate from accidents for youths ages 19 and younger fell 43% from 2000 to 2009.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 54 children died from accidents in West Virginia in 2009. That is down from 98 in 2000.

Nationally, the number dropped about 26% from 12,441 in 2000 to 9,143 in 2009.

The national annual accidental death rate among children fell about 29%.

Officials say unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death among youth and are preventable.

Those injuries include motor vehicle deaths, suffocation, downing, poisoning, and fires or burns.

Daily G-Eye™: 04.15.12

80 + year old woman was hit by a car in the parking lot of the new dollar general store in Glenville at 3:45PM 04.14.12

Submit photos for this daily feature. You may select to have your name listed as well.
Send your photo(s) to “”

Clay County: Murder-Suicide


West Virginia State Police in Clay County are investigating an apparent murder-suicide.

The State Police was called to a house on Darnell Hollow Road Friday morning, April 13, 2012 and found a man and his wife dead.

Troopers say Francis Bishop, age 49, was on the front porch and her husband, Erving Bishop, age 57 was in the house.

Trooper S.L. Bass says it appears Erving shot and killed his wife sometime early Friday morning and then took his own life.

Francis Bishop was shot in the back.

Trooper Bass says an eight-year-old granddaughter was in a back bedroom when it all happened.

She says she heard two loud bangs.

“It’s just one of those unfortunate events that a child of that age would have to discover something like that,“ Bass said.

Troopers say the Bishops were in the process of getting a divorce.

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