Reckless Drivers Claim More Lives

From the Buckhannon Record Delta:

Two killed in head-on crash: County roads have claimed six lives in less than a week

Modified: Monday, Mar 24th, 2008
BY: Amanda Hayes/Senior Staff Writer 3-21-08

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A Buckhannon fire truck blocks part of Route 20 near Lowe’s as a 1986 Ford Ranger involved in Thursday’s fatal crash is loaded onto a tow truck. The driver of the Ford Ranger was killed when he apparently fell asleep and hit the 2008 Ford Taurus pictured below. The driver of that vehicle was also killed. Photos

by Becky Wine.

Five days after an accident killed four local young women, a head-on collision killed two people on Route 20 near Lowe’s Thursday when the driver of one vehicle apparently fell asleep.

Jeremy Jay Thomas, 19, of French Creek, died after his 1986 Ford Ranger pickup truck crossed over the center line and struck a car driven by Lynn Robert Blank, 57, of Buckhannon, according to a press release from the Buckhannon Police Department.

Blank was also killed in the accident.

Matthew Alderman, 21, of Buckhannon, was a passenger in Thomas’ vehicle. Carla J. Blank, 50, of Buckhannon, was a passenger in Blank’s vehicle. Both passengers were taken by Upshur County EMS to St. Joseph’s Hospital and later flown to Ruby Memorial Hospital.

Buckhannon Police Chief Matt Gregory said he believed they were in stable condition when they left St. Joseph’s Hospital, but their status could not be confirmed Thursday evening.

As of Friday, March 21 Carla Blank was listed in good condition and Alderman had reportedly been released.

Reports indicate that Thomas potentially fell asleep at the wheel, according to Gregory. Thomas’ vehicle was traveling south at 7 a.m. when it crossed into the other lane and hit the 2008 Ford Taurus driven by Blank in front of Lowe’s.

The Upshur County Sheriff’s Department and Buckhannon Fire Department also responded. Traffic was reduced to one lane on Route 20 North until the cars could be removed, according to Gregory.

As in all fatalities, a toxicology test has been done and the results should be back within a couple of weeks.

Thomas was a 2007 graduate of Buckhannon-Upshur High School, and Alderman is also a recent graduate of B-UHS.

Also from the Record Delta:

Man killed in Route 33 accident

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Two mangled vehicles came to a rest off the side of Route 33 West on Monday after a deadly high speed collision. Kathleen Neetz, driving a Toyota minivan, was turning onto Fink Run Road when she pulled into the path of a Dodge Ram pickup truck driven by Robert Linger. Linger was ejected from the vehicle and later died due to wounds sustained in the accident.
One man died after a two-vehicle crash on Route 33 West Monday morning that sent two other people to the hospital.

Robert Linger, 46, of Rt. 9 Buckhannon, was traveling west on Route 33 in his white Dodge Ram pickup truck when he collided with a silver 2007 Toyota minivan driven by Kathleen Neetz, 51, of Buckhannon, according to a press release from the Upshur County Sheriff’s Department.

Neetz was traveling east on Route 33, slowed and was turning onto Fink Run Road across the westbound lane when the two vehicles collided.

Linger was ejected from the pickup truck after it rolled several times down an embankment. A trail of debris led from the intersection at Finks Run Road and Route 33 down to the vehicles, which came to a rest near each other.

All occupants were initially taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital. Linger died as a result of injuries sustained from the crash.

Linger’s passenger, Brandon Landis, 18, of Buckhannon, was taken to WVU Hospital but has since been released, and Neetz was taken to Davis Memorial Hospital.

Linger was a Lewis County native, according to The Weston Democrat.

The accident occurred around 11:25 a.m. and all available EMS units were called to the scene. The Buckhannon Fire Department, Warren District and Adrian volunteer fire departments also responded.

Chief Deputy Mike Coffman is the lead investigator and he was assisted by Corporal Rodney Rolenson, Sheriff Virgil D. Miller, Lt. Mark Davis and Chief Deputy M.R. Kelley. The Buckhannon detachment of the state police also assisted.

The accident remains under investigation, according to the release.

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