The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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March 7, 2014

Victims: Preschool age; Details emerge in fatal crash

The Mercer County Sheriff’s Department cautiously released a few additional details concerning the three-vehicle wreck Wednesday evening that claimed the lives of two small children. With the investigation on going and a state police crash reconstruction expert in bound today, the press conference Thursday evening was short on details and long on sorrow.

“These families need the prayers of our community,” Chaplain M.P. “Mike” Forbes of the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department said.

Forbes was called to the crash site soon after it occurred at about 7 p.m. on Wednesday. He said he was on the scene of the crash or at the hospital with the families until about 1:30 a.m. Thursday morning. In addition to the families, he said that emergency responders also needed comforting Wednesday night.

“Two small children were killed as a result of this crash,” Lt. J.E. “Joe” Parks of the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department said at the press conference. “Both children were, by all appearances, buckled in age-appropriate safety seats at the time of impact.” Parks stated later during a brief question and answer period that followed the press conference that both victims were female and both were of preschool age.

“Terri A. Wright of Glen Lyn, Va., was driving a 2000 Chevy Corsica when it was struck two times by two separate vehicles on U.S. Route 52,” Parks stated, reading from prepared remarks. He said that Wright was transported to Bluefield Regional Medical Center suffering from “injuries that are extensive,” and later transported to Roanoke Memorial Hospital in Roanoke, Va., where she remained Thursday evening.

“The driver of a 1994 Ford Ranger, Harold Brown (age unavailable) of Bramwell, was also transported from the scene to Princeton Community Hospital,” Parks said. “He was released with a back injury later (Wednesday) night.

“The driver of the 2009 Toyota Rav Four, Jackson Carter, 40, of Princeton, was also involved in the crash but didn’t request any treatment for injuries at the scene,” Parks stated.

“The investigation will be a joint effort for the sheriff’s department and the West Virginia State Police to determine the cause of the accident,” Parks stated. “The state police have assigned a reconstruction expert to investigate this matter.”

Parks said that out of “respect to the family” the sheriff’s department was not yet releasing the names or ages of the two young victims. In response to a question of how the families were doing, Parks answered simply: “Not well.”

Parks said that the speed limit on U.S. Route 52 in Brushfork near the Deliverance Temple Church is 45 miles-per-hour, and added “there is reason to believe that speed may be a cause” of the crash, but said that would only be speculation until the state police reconstruction expert examines the crash scene.

“We know a lot more than we’re going to release right now,” Mercer County Sheriff D.B. “Don” Meadows said after the press conference. “We want the state police crash reconstruction expert to come in first, and we’ll be able to provide more information.”

Parks said that the investigation is “pending,” until the crash reconstruction expert visits the scene.

— Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com

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