Plane Crashes in Doddridge County Upshur County

The Gilmer Free Press

A small plane crashed in Upshur County near Buckhannon, WV Saturday evening, January 04, 2014.

The plane’s pilot told the Buckhannon Fire Department that he had engine trouble and had to make an emergency landing.

The plane’s parachute system was deployed and the plane crashed on Brushy Fork Road between Jenkins Ford and Buckhannon Toyota.

The fire department said the plane hit a truck when it landed but neither the truck’s driver nor the pilot were injured.

The plane was taken to the Upshur County Regional Airport for further investigation.

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Study: West Virginia Has Nation’s Highest ATV Death Rate

The Gilmer Free Press

A new study says West Virginia has the nation’s highest rate of fatal all-terrain vehicle accidents.

The study released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety looked at rider deaths on public roads from 2007 to 2011.

At that time, 1,701 riders died in crashes on public roads throughout the nation.

West Virginia ranked 3rd in the number of deaths with 96.

However, its death rate of 105 per 10 million people was the country’s highest.

Wyoming was a distant second with 70.

West Virginia State Police Sgt. Michael Baylous says the popularity of outdoor activities in West Virginia may be a reason for the high rate of ATV fatalities.

Roane County: Man killed in ATV Crash

The Gilmer Free Press

Police in Roane County released information Saturday about a fatal ATV crash that took place on Hank Road Friday afternoon.

Deputies said Alfred Slack, age 76, of Kanawha County died in the crash.

He apparently lost control of his ATV while traveling up a hill to check a tree stand.

The machine went backward and pinned Slack against a tree.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Two Deadly Accidents This Morning in the Area

The Gilmer Free Press

Two people were killed in separate vehicle accidents in North Central West Virginia on Friday morning.

The first wreck happened around 6:30 AM Friday on Interstate 79 in Lewis County.

Reports indicated one person died in an accident near the Weston exit, mile marker 99, that involved a tractor trailer and three other cars.

One lane of I-79 was closed in each direction through Friday morning as crews worked to clear that accident scene.

Weston Police are investigating.

In Harrison County, about an hour later, a wreck involving a single vehicle on West Pike Street in Clarksburg claimed one life.

Officials said the vehicle slammed into a barrier wall after 7:30 AM Friday.

Officers with the Clarksburg Police Department are handling that investigation.

Neither victim was being publicly identified on Friday morning.

Squirrel Suspected Cause of Brush Fire in Upshur County

The Gilmer Free Press

Buckhannon fire chief Mitch Tracy says a squirrel likely caused a brush fire that burned about an acre behind the Upshur County Office of Emergency Management.

Tracy says a burned animal was found at the foot of a power line pole.

He says authorities believe a squirrel somehow got into the power line and shorted it out, causing sparks to fall to the ground.

He says no structures were damaged by the fire.

The fire occurred Friday on private wooded property.

G-LtE™: Christian Dawn Starcher Seabolt Disappeared In 2002

The Gilmer Free Press

Four years ago a hunter discovered the skeletal remains of Christian Dawn Starcher Seabolt, an 18-year-old Spencer woman, who vanished in 2002.

Authorities went to a remote area known as Groundhog Ridge to examine the remains, discovered about 25 feet from a rural road.

The remains were sent to the Smithsonian for forensic examination, during which they determined a positive identity.

West Virginia State Police in Spencer indicated to Spencer Newspapers they have no new leads on who murdered the woman, but the newspaper is a lot like our local paper which survives on county commission money from placing legal ads, otherwise could never sell enough advertising to support the rinky dink slink link of a poor excuse for print media.

The 18 year old girl left her mother’s apartment in Spencer, WV to get a pack of cigarettes on August 31, 2002, but what was not said was that Dawn Starcher Seabolt had information on bad cops and local drug dealing. Anybody that was around in those days and knew the girl would tell you the same story.

The Gilmer Free Press
Christian “Dawn” Starcher Seabolt whose body
was found in Wirt County years after she went missing

This story is about complacency and people not wanting to get involved for the reason the matter stinks of police corruption. If you don’t believe those allegations, I would invite you to go talk to her friends who have long since had their ten year high school reunion. Privately they will tell you the young girl had information about a bad cop.

Seabolt was an acquaintance of “Tattoo Vince” Golosow, a Tariff, Roane County man, now is serving time for killing Michael Judson Reid, 52.

“Tattoo Vince” was connected to a number of individuals who resided in Roane, Wirt and Clay counties, but quite frankly had nothing to do with the murder of the girl. “Vince” will tell you himself, why kill one of the few friendly girls in the area. The word is from people in the area was that they were on friendly terms.

Therefore, any savvy investigator knows “Tattoo Vince” in this case is just a patsy, and that false story that he was responsible for the girl’s murder was disinformation released by the local cops, and by the person that was actually guilty of murdering the girl.

This was the ROANE COUNTY version of the murder of FRED HILL 7 years in advance.

“Tatto Vince” Golosow, 58, said Seabolt was a nice girl. He did admit Seabolt used to come around his house.

Sometime after Seabolt went missing, Judd Reid, a friend of hers and Golosow, was murdered.

Golosow was convicted of Reid’s murder in 2004. Golosow, who claims he is innocent of Reid’s murder, is also considered a person of interest in Seabolt’s case by law enforcement officials.

The Gilmer Free Press
Seabolt’s body was discovered off Groundhog Ridge
in this wooded area photographed in
Creston, WV after years of searching.

Moe Starcher the father of the murdered girl thinks his daughter was murdered for attempting to report police corruption. He points to rumors of drug-related law enforcement corruption in the area. His daughter’s claims did not sit well within the law enforcement community, Starcher said.

“What I was told before she came up missing and what I believe to this day:”

“There were some dirty cops in Clay and Roane County. It is well known by many.”

Starcher claims a 911 call was made the day Seabolt disappeared. Officials said the 911 call to which Starcher refers was not made by his daughter.

Officials are working with Starcher to allow him to listen to the recording. Starcher believes the recording the State Police will provide is not the call his daughter made, and that they are covering for dirty county cops the same exact way they have been documented of doing so for the corrupt law enforcement in Gilmer County.

“I was told by a State Police officer that there is a phone call and it was my daughter and now it doesn’t exist. Where does that leave me?”

The State Police are obviously corrupt too!

“I think when (Golosow) said I was on the right track, referring to police corruption, he’s right on that,” Moe Starcher the father of Christian Dawn Starcher Seabolt said.

~~  Author on File ~~

Braxton County: Police Identify Body Found in Elk River in Gassaway

The Gilmer Free Press

Officials in Braxton County have identified the woman found dead in the Elk River earlier this week as that of Barba Chapman.

Sheriff Deputies said the 82-year-old was found Monday at about 11 AM near the bridge going into Gassaway.

An autopsy is currently being conducted on her body by the State Medical Examiner’s Office to determine the cause of death.

Deputies at this point do not believe her death is suspicious.

Investigators said a family member found Chapman’s body.

Doddridge County Sheriff’s Deputy Involved in Rollover Accident

The Gilmer Free Press

A Doddridge County sheriff’s deputy was involved in a rollover accident Monday morning.

He was taken to United Hospital Center and now released he was checked out.

Doddridge County Sheriff Mike Headley said Deputy Garner was traveling on U.S. Highway 50 East around 6:00 AM he had the rollover accident.

It happened when the deputy swerved to avoid hitting a deer near Doddridge County Middle School.

Sheriff Headly said, “The patrol vehicle hit the median, then rolled over.”

Deputy Garner was taken to United Hospital Center by Doddridge County Ambulance Authority.

Deputy Garner went back to work on Tuesday.

West Union Fire department and Smithburg Fire department also responded to the accident.

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Gassaway: Body Found By Elk River

The Gilmer Free Press


The body of a woman was discovered in the Elk River near Gassaway Monday night.

Braxton County Sheriff’s Department deputies said Tuesday they have identified the woman, but are not releasing the information.

Deputies said although the woman’s family has been notified, there are other family members out of state who have not yet learned of the tragedy.

The investigation into her death is underway.

The woman’s body has been sent to the state Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy to determine a cause of death.

Deputies would not say if foul play is suspected and would not say who found the body.


Crews were on the scene of a body that was found in Braxton County, Monday, December 02, 2013.

Dispatchers say the body was found Monday night by the Elk River in Gassaway, WV.

The victim has not been identified.

Water Rescue in Webster County

The Webster Springs Fire Department Swift Water Rescue Team was dispatched to swollen Sugar Creek late Tuesday night about 8.5 miles from the community of Diana, south of Holly River State Park.

They found Amy Casteel, age 36, stuck on a fallen tree after she had been carried downstream about a quarter of a mile nearly two hours earlier.

Webster County first responders used generators to get light on Sugar Creek to aid in the rescue effort.

The Gilmer Free Press

Webster County Office of Emergency Services Deputy Director Dale Hall said Casteel and her uncle, Jimmie Hines, age 42, had attempted to cross the creek on an ATV at about 9 PM.

They realized it was too deep and attempted to back out but the ATV overturned in the water. Hines made it out of the water but Casteel did not. It took him about an hour to reach a residence to call for help.

Hall said once the rescue team and other volunteers from the Webster Springs, Hacker Valley and Diana volunteer fire departments found Casteel they determined a highline rescue was the only way to reach her.

He said they took a generator, strung extension cords and set up lights so they could see her.

Once rescuers found her and held a light for her–she was able to get out of the water to a debris pile and stayed there until we could get to her.

A member of the swift water rescue team swam over to the other side of Sugar Creek, other team members then threw him the line and he secured it to the trees.

Hall said the team then used a 4:1 lift and put Casteel in a harness, hoisted her into the air and brought her across on a highline.

She was taken to Webster County Memorial Hospital to be treated for hypothermia.

What could have been just a recovery turned into a successful rescue.

There were between 20 and 30 volunteers on the scene and Hall said they will be extra thankful this Thanksgiving.

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Police ID Pennsboro Man Killed in House Explosion

The Gilmer Free Press

A man killed in an explosion at his home in Ritchie County has been identified.

West Virginia State Police Sgt. Clint Boring says that no foul play is suspected in the death of 73-year-old Robert Lee Holmes.

The explosion occurred at Holmes’ home in Pennsboro on October 21, 2013.

An investigation is continuing.

West Virginia State police and the State Fire Marshal believe the explosion was caused by a natural gas leak.

Doddridge County: Two Injured in Well Site Fire

The Gilmer Free Press

One worker with Antero Resources was still being treated at a Pittsburgh, PA hospital Monday following a Sunday accident at a natural gas drilling site in Doddridge County.

The worker was one of the two injured in a fire that happened while the two workers were reportedly installing a sand separator at a well pad located near West Union, WV.

The accident came just a few months after two workers died following an incident at another location for Antero Resources in Doddridge County.

Fatal Fire in Ritchie County

The Gilmer Free Press

The state Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating a second fatal fire in West Virginia from this week.

The blaze took place at about 10:30 PM Monday night at a house on East Miles Ave. in the Pennsboro area.

The victim was a 73-year-old man.

Two Logan County children were killed Monday morning in a blaze near Logan. Investigators said Dontarius Gardner, 3, and Shania Sydney, 4, couldn’t make it out of the back of their duplex on Canton Lane when an electrical problem started the fire.

Minor Earthquake in Braxton County

The Gilmer Free Press

A minor earthquake has shaken the Sutton area in Braxton County, WV.

The National Geological Survey’s shows a magnitude-2.2 earthquake occurred around 5:20 AM. Sunday.

The epicenter was 6 miles west-northwest of Sutton.

No damage has been reported.

Calhoun Fire Destroys A Restaurant

The Gilmer Free Press

Firefighters said a fire that destroyed a Calhoun County restaurant Friday morning in Grantsville isn’t only devastating to the owners but also the community.

“My heart dropped,“ said Graham Knight, Grantsville volunteer firefighter. “It’s a sad thing.“

Responding to a fire at Momma T’s in Grantsville has a personal meaning for volunteer firefighter Graham Knight. Knight used to work at the convenience store and on Friday he was fighting to save it.

“The second I came around and saw the flames my heart dropped a little bit,“ he said.

The restaurant went up in flames about 6 a.m. Hours later smoke was still billowing out of the roof.

“We’re in this for a reason, but it’s never good when you see it,“ Knight said.

The owners said they had just opened the store and were standing outside when they heard a popping noise. The next thing they saw was their business on fire.

Grantsville Fire Chief Craig Gherke said firefighters attacked the blaze as soon as they arrived.

“We pulled in, hit it with the deck gun trying to put the flames out,“ Gherke said. “It just spread from the attic into the store area.“

Firefighters had to attack it from the outside at first because the roof started falling, and it was too dangerous to go in the structure. The entire building and everything inside was destroyed. The owners estimate their losses at $500,000.

“This was their livelihood and how they made a living so they’re taking it kind of hard,“ Gherke said.

The owners haven’t decided if they’re going to rebuild.

Knight said this is a huge loss to this community.

“There’s been a lot of good times for everybody in the county and surrounding counties to come to eat here and talk,“ Knight said. “It’s just kind of a homey feel. It’s sad to see it now.“

The cause of the fire is under investigation, but firefighters think it was electrical in nature.

~~  Bethany Simmons - Katelyn Sykes - WCHS ~~

19 Cattle Killed on I-64 after Escaping West Virginia Farm

The Gilmer Free Press

Greenbrier County emergency officials say 19 cattle were killed by a pair of tractor-trailers after they escaped from a farm and wandered onto Interstate 64.

The accident occurred around 1:43 AM Wednesday in the Alta area.

Several cattle were euthanized because of their injuries.

The others were killed instantly.

The accident closed the eastbound lanes until about 5:00 AM.

One driver suffered minor injuries while the other driver was not injured.

Once Again West Virginia Leads The Nation in Deer Collisions

The Gilmer Free Press

Despite a lower rate of deer/car collisions across the United States, West Virginia remains the most likely state in which a motorist will hit a deer while driving.

“There’s been a decline of about 4.3%,” said Dave Phillips, spokesman for State Farm Insurance.

“West Virginia though is still number one.  The average nationally is about one in 174 to hit a deer, but in West Virginia it’s one in 41.”

West Virginia with its miles of rural roadway has held the dubious distinction in State Farm’s annual survey for seven straight years.

“Even though West Virginia remains number one, that’s an 8.3% reduction from the previous year,” Phillips said. “The crashes are down, but there’s still an issue that those deer are out there.”

The average deer/car collision costs 3,000 dollars in repairs.

Montana is the second most likely state to hit a deer where the chances are one in 65.

Iowa is third with a one in 73 chance.

Rounding out the top five of state’s where you’re most likely to hit a deer are South Dakota at one in 75 and Pennsylvania at one in 77.

State Farm’s data suggests November is the most likely time to hit a deer on the highway.

November is the peak of hunting and rutting season for whitetail deer and makes the more vulnerable to a human interaction.

“The thing is to just be alert we’re headed into that season of the year,” Phillips suggested.

~~  Chris Lawrence ~~

Doddridge School Bus Involved In Accident Near Southridge Walmart

The Gilmer Free Press

A Doddridge County school bus was involved in an accident with another passenger vehicle Friday.

Police said the accident took place at about 4:40 PM near the Walmart At Southridge Centre.

Students were on the bus at the time of the accident, but no one was reported injured.

An ambulance was dispatched to the scene as a precaution.

High School Football 2013: South Harrison Student Still in Medically Induced Coma

The Gilmer Free Press

A senior at South Harrison High School is still in a medically induced coma at Ruby Memorial Hospital following an injury that happened during Friday night’s football game against Lincoln High School.

Dylan Jeffries, age 17, collapsed on the sideline after taking a hit.  Later Friday night, he underwent emergency surgery at Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown to have a massive blood clot removed from his brain.

South Harrison Principal Greg Moore said, at this point, it’s not clear if the hit Jeffries took in the fourth quarter of the game caused the problem or if the blood clot was there prior to the tackle.

“When he was tackled, the back of his head did the hit the ground.  That initiated whatever happened,” said Moore.  He said Jeffries was called to the sideline where he collapsed after he ran the wrong direction in the play that followed the hit.  He was taken off the field on a stretcher.

Moore said Jeffries is currently on a ventilator and is being monitored.

“They have to keep an eye on the brain pressures because, whenever you do brain surgery, there’s swelling of the brain and, for four or five days afterwards, that pressure goes up and down and they monitor that,” he said.  The plan is to start bringing Jeffries out of the coma later this week.

Moore said a lot of people are pulling together and hoping for the best for Jeffries.  “Down here at South Harrison, we’re the little rural school of the county and it’s a family community down here,” he said on MetroNews “Talkline.”

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High School Football 2013: Player Seriously Injured

The Gilmer Free Press

A South Harrison High School football player is hospitalized following a serious injury during a game against Lincoln Friday night.

According to the Clarksburg Exponent, Dylan Jeffries underwent surgery at Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown for a blood clot on his brain, which led to swelling.

Jeffries, a senior, was taken from the field on a stretcher midway through the fourth quarter.

Lewis County: Deadly Accident Under Investigation

The Gilmer Free Press

A man was killed Friday night when he lost control of his truck and the vehicle slammed into a tree.

West Virginia State Police Troopers are investigating the crash that took place around 8:00 PM on Georgetown Road.

The victim was traveling alone.

Troopers have not release his name.

Fatal Accident: One Dead in Roane County Wreck

The Gilmer Free Press

A person is dead after a Thursday night traffic accident on U.S. Highway 119 in Roane County, WV.

Police say the single vehicle crash happened at around 9:00 PM between Spencer and Gandeeville.

The victim was pronounced dead at Charleston Area Medical Center

Flatwoods: Woman Dead in I-79 Crash

The Gilmer Free Press

Sheriff’s deputies in Braxton County said a woman was killed and a man critically injured in a car crash Tuesday on Interstate 79.

The wreck happened at around 11:50 AM in the southbound lanes near the 64 mile marker between Flatwoods and Sutton.

Deputies said the driver lost control and the car overturned at least three times ending up in the northbound lanes.

Both the woman and man were thrown from the vehicle.

The woman was pronounced dead at the scene and the man is in critical condition.

The man was transported to Braxton Memorial Hospital, where he was being treated for serious injuries.

The deputy said the man was expected to be transported to Charleston by helicopter.

Their names have not been released.

Deputies said speed may have been a factor.

The northbound lanes of I-79 were closed immediately after the crash but reopened by 2:00 PM.

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