Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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May 6, 2013

ATV crash claims one

McDowell community mourning death of off-duty Officer Wellman

WELCH — The McDowell County community was saddened to learn of the passing Sunday morning of Officer Shawn Wellman of the Welch Police Department.

Wellman, 32, of Big Sandy, was injured late Friday night in an ATV wreck on Belcher Mountain. He was transported from the crash site to a landing zone at Mount View High School where he was airlifted to Charleston Area Medical Center early Saturday morning, according to Trooper B.D. Gillespie of the Welch Detachment, West Virginia State Police who investigated the crash.

Gillespie said that as he was examining the site of the crash, he found a large K-9 with an injured leg. He said the owner of the K-9 told him that the dog was not injured prior to the wreck that resulted in Wellman’s injuries. The K-9 owner speculated that Wellman might have lost control of the ATV by attempting to avoid striking the K-9.

“Shawn served with the Welch Police Department for several years, but left for a time to serve with the McDowell County Sheriff’s Department,” Danny Barie, Welch city attorney, said. “He left the Sheriff’s Department and worked in a coal mine for a while, but returned to the Welch Police Department about a year ago.”

Barie said Wellman was well liked throughout the city, and added that the community had been keeping him in their prayers. “I had added him to our prayer list at church this morning,” Barie said.

— Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com

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