Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

January 26, 2014

Three arrested after three-vehicle wreck

PRINCETON — State police in Princeton worked through the late evening hours of Friday night into early Saturday morning to unravel the details of a three-vehicle wreck that resulted in the arrests of three Mercer County residents.

The chain of events started at about 9:40 p.m. when two drivers — Lawrence Beavers, 46, of Bluefield, driving a Chevy pickup truck and Sara Hoffman, 27, of Athens, who was driving a Jeep Commander — collided as they were traveling west on U.S. Route 460 approximately 100 yards east of the intersection with Ambrose Lane, according to Trooper W.H. File IV of the Princeton Detachment of the West Virginia State Police.

“The two vehicles ran into each other, and both of them flipped up on their sides,” File said. “The vehicles continued traveling west, where they ran into a third vehicle — a black Nissan, that was on Ambrose Lane at the intersection with Route 460.”

According to File, Beavers fled from the scene of the crash on foot. “A short time after arriving on the scene, we received a call from someone who said they saw a man who ran behind the Princeton Church of God,” File said. “Trooper B.R. Wood, also of the Princeton Detachment, drove up to the church, and after a brief foot pursuit, captured Mr. Beavers,” File said. Beavers was charged with DUI, failure to maintain control of a vehicle, leaving the scene of an accident and fleeing on foot.

Back at the scene of the crash, File placed Sara Hoffman under arrest for DUI and failure to maintain control of a vehicle.

“At some point, a person who was not involved in the accident, came upon the scene, went over to the man who had been driving the Nissan and started assaulting him and struck him in the chest,” File said. “He was the spouse of the female who had been driving the Jeep Commander, and he thought the man who was driving the Nissan had caused the wreck.”

File said that he and Trooper J.L. Morris, also of the Princeton  Detachment, West Virginia State Police, stopped the man — Mark Hoffman, 29, of Athens — from his assault on the Maryland man, prompting him to redirect his assault onto the troopers, according to File.

“With the help of firefighters with the East River Volunteer Fire Department, we were able to handcuff (Mark Hoffman) and place him under arrest,” File said. Mark Hoffman was charged with battery, assault, disorderly conduct and obstruction. The three individuals were held overnight at the Bluefield jail until they were arraigned and released from custody Saturday morning.

According to File, neither Mr. and Mrs. Hoffman nor Beavers were injured in the crash, but the wife of the Maryland man who was a passenger in the Nissan was injured and had to be transported to Princeton Community Hospital by the Princeton Rescue  Squad.

“I would really like to thank the members of the East River Volunteer Fire Department who assisted us with Mr. Hoffman,” File said.

The temperature at the time of the wreck was about 8 or 9 degrees above zero.

— Contact Bill Archer at

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