Leesburg woman killed in accident
A Leesburg, Virginia woman was killed in an early morning accident last week that shut down both lanes of U.S. Route 522 South for over four hours. The accident occurred on Tuesday, November 13 at 7:23 a.m. approximately 0.2 mile north of Allemong Lane near Cacapon State Park.
Ella Mabel Kendall, age 78, was driving a 2007 Honda Civic northbound from Virginia when her vehicle apparently crossed the center line and hit a 2000 Freightliner tractor trailer head on that was driven by Mark Gelles, age 36, from New Florence, Pennsylvania.
Kendall was pronounced dead at the scene. Gelles, who drives for M & C Trucking Company of Seward, Pennsylvania, was taken to Winchester Memorial Hospital for injuries from the accident. He was treated for minor lacerations and released, said Sergeant S. E. Davis of the Berkeley Springs detachment of the West Virginia State Police.
Kendall was in the southbound lane and the tractor trailer had nowhere to go with the oncoming traffic behind her, Davis said. Davis, the new commander at the local state police barracks, was the investigating officer on the scene.
Police in Virginia had already been alerted about a vehicle heading north that was driving erratically. Morgan County 911 had also received calls from drivers on their cell phones about the car and from Frederick County, said Dave Michael from the Morgan County Office of Emergency Services.
The 911 Center dispatched the complaint to the Morgan County Sheriff's Department. Deputies were en route to the southern part of the county responding to the call when the accident occurred, Michael said.
Sergeant Davis, Dave Michael, Chief Deputy Vince Shambaugh and Deputy Scott Lemon of the Morgan County Sheriff's Department, units from the Berkeley Springs, South Morgan and Reynolds Store Volunteer Fire Departments and the Morgan County Rescue Service responded to the accident scene.
Morgan County Coroner Steve McBee, Rhod Mills from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, County Supervisor John Coleman from the Division of Highways and Brock Vanorsdale from the West Virginia Public Service Commission also responded. Morgan County Sheriff's Deputy Reserves directed traffic at the scene.
Crews from the Division of Highways spread sand to increase traction on the slick highway, Davis said. A diesel spill that occurred when one of the tractor trailer's fuel tanks was dislodged from the truck was also cleaned up, he said.
At 10 a.m., emergency crews were still trying to remove the victim's body from the wreckage. The road remained closed until around noon until wreckers could remove the vehicles and debris from the accident. The tractor trailer, which was hauling rolls of steel, had to be reloaded and towed from the scene, Davis said.
The accident investigation is continuing.