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Holiday Travel Gets Off To A Deadly Start In WV; Victim Identified

Reported by: Send eMail Katelyn Sykes
Web Producer: Katelyn Sykes
Reported: Dec. 24, 2013 11:20 AM EST
Updated: Dec. 24, 2013 4:33 PM EST

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Deadly Travel Day
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Institute , Kanawha County , West Virginia

Holiday travel got off to a deadly start in West Virginia, Tuesday.

Deputies said John Charles Miller, 65, of Indianapolis, Indiana died after a crash along I-64 near Institute. It happened just before 6 a.m. in the westbound lanes. The wreckage was so severe the cab of the truck was almost unrecognizable.

"The extensive amount of damage on the cab is one of the worst I've seen in my career," said Shane Hudnall, Safety Officer, DOH.

Emergency officials said the driver of a semi rear-ended another truck, killing Miller.

"A fatality is always tragic but it always hits closer to home when it's this close to the holidays," Hudnall said.

Emergency officials closed I64 in the west bound lanes at the Dunbar exit for several hours to reconstruct the scene. Hudnall said speed may be a factor in this crash.

This wasn't the only crash that had emergency crews busy Tuesday morning. Several accidents were reported along I64 and I77. A soldier on leave from the military was heading home for Christmas when he hit an icy spot on a bridge along I64 just before the Winfield exit causing him to roll his truck. He was lucky enough to be able to crawl out of the wreckage and wasn't hurt.

Another crash along I77 near Sissonville sent one woman to the hospital. State police said a woman lost control of her car because of weather conditions.

"The roads are icy and wet," said Cpl. Kelly, West Virginia State Police. "They may appear to be dry but across the bridges are extremely icy."

With millions of people expected to hit the highways across the country on Tuesday, State police are urging drivers to use extra caution so they get to their destinations safely.

"We've already had three or four accidents this morning so I look for the traffic to pick up throughout the day and just advise people to slow down and be cautious of the bridges and overpasses," Cpl. Kelly said.



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