Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

June 20, 2014

Trooper struck on I-77

PRINCETON — Police are still searching for a vehicle that struck a West Virginia State Police Trooper Thursday along Interstate 77 in Mercer County and then fled the scene of the crash.

The hit and run was reported at approximately 5:12 a.m. Thursday morning when Trooper First Class D.R. White of the West Virginia State Police Parkways Authority (Turnpike) parked his cruiser on the shoulder of the roadway on I- 77 north at the 15.5 mile marker near Athens to remove debris near the middle of the roadway, according to Lt. Michael Baylous, a public information officer for the West Virginia State Police.

Baylous said White’s cruiser bar light, complete with directional blue and red lighting to alert motorists to move left, was activated at the time. On his way back to the cruiser, White was struck by a vehicle.  Baylous said it is believed that he was struck by the passenger side mirror of the vehicle.  

Baylous said White received injuries which forced him to crawl off the roadway, back to his cruiser. At approximately 5:21 a.m., he issued a radio call for medical assistance. Baylous said White was treated and released Thursday morning from an area hospital and is experiencing considerable overall pain.

Baylous said the driver of the vehicle failed to stop and render aid to White. The West Virginia State Police is continuing to investigate this incident.

Baylous said video surveillance tapes along the I-77 corridor are currently being reviewed.

Baylous said authorities do not know if the suspect vehicle has already left the state or not. He said the driver of the vehicle should have realized that he or she struck someone.

“You should be aware enough to know that you hit something,” Baylous said. “The longer they stay away and don’t come forward, I think that shows more toward their character and intent.”

Baylous said any potential charges in the crash would have to be discussed with Mercer County Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ash.

Thursday’s hit and run occurred just as state police across the state and nation are working to promote the month of June as National Move Over Awareness Month.

The state law requires motorists to slow down or pull over for emergency vehicles that are stopped along the road.

“If you see emergency vehicles stopped on the side of the roadway, you have a responsibility to at least slow down, and if possible to move into the lane further away from those vehicles,” Baylous said. “But at a minimum people should be slowing down. And if that lane is available, you are expected to get over.”

 Anyone with information concerning the hit and run is requested to contact the West Virginia State Police.     

— Contact Charles Owens at cowens@bdtonline.com

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