UPDATE: Victim Identified in Route 35 Fatal Accident in Putnam

By: Jennifer Rizzi, Brad Myers Email
By: Jennifer Rizzi, Brad Myers Email

UPDATE 5/7/12 @ 12:45 p.m.
PUTNAM COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- More information has been released about a crash in Putnam County that left one woman dead and another seriously hurt.

The accident happened Sunday on Rt. 35 near Pliny in the area where crews are widening the road.

Putnam County Sheriff's Deputies tell WSAZ.com Shelia Ray was driving a SUV when she crossed the center line and hit a motorcycle head on.

Pamela Bell, who was from Salem, Virginia was driving the motorcycle. She died on the scene.

Ray was taken to CAMC where she remains in serious condition.

A tractor trailer crashed trying to avoid the accident, but the driver was not hurt.

UPDATE 10:32 p.m. 5/6/12
PUTNAM COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Route 35 is now back open after an accident that took the life of one woman and injured another.

The three-car collision kept crews busy for more than five hours Sunday afternoon and kept traffic at a complete standstill.

Investigators say an SUV was traveling north about 2:30 when it crossed the center line and hit a passing motorcycle head-on.

A southbound tractor-trailer couldn't stop in time and then spun out of control, joining the wreck.

The driver of the motorcycle, whom investigators say was a Virginia woman, was killed instantly. The SUV went up in flames after the impact.

"I was scared to come down...afraid that the patient might have been burnt up in the fire," said Winfield fire chief Kevin Watson. "But they were able to get here in time to put the fire out and get the patient extricated from the vehicle."

That driver - whom investigators say was a woman from the Winfield area - was life-flighted from the scene. Crews then began cleaning up diesel spilled on the road.

Investigators say it's the worst accident they've seen for a while in the area.

"Since the new four-lane went in, we've been fortunate that we haven't had an accident of this magnitude," Watson said. "We've had some fatalities, but we haven't encountered this much damage to the vehicles."

They say the road is narrow, so drivers are urged to be careful.

"Watch out for the construction people on the road and pay close attention to signs, Watson said. "If it says 45 miles an hour, go 45 miles an hour...there's a reason for that."

Investigators also told us the fiance of the woman killed on the motorcycle was riding a bike right behind her at the time, but managed to avoid the accident.

UPDATE: 8:45 p.m. 5/6/12>
PUTNAM COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Putnam County dispatchers say Route 35 has reopened following a deadly accident earlier Sunday.

UPDATE: 8:17 p.m. 5/6/12>

PUTNAM COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Investigators say a deadly three-car crash on Route 35 started when an SUV traveling northbound crossed the center line and struck a passing southbound motorcycle about 2:30 p.m.

Investigators say the motorcycle driver - a female from Virginia - was killed on impact. The driver of the SUV, a woman from the Winfield area, had to be cut out of the vehicle and life-flighted.

A southbound tractor trailer was also involved in the accident. Crews are still cleaning up what they say is an excess of diesel fuel spilled on to the road.


UPDATE: 5:00 p.m. 5/6/12
PUTNAM COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Winfield Fire Chief Kevin Watson says one person has died in the three-car crash earlier Sunday in Putnam County. WSAZ.com has learned the rider of the motorcycle was killed in the accident. One person in the SUV had to be cut out of the vehicle. That person was then life-flighted to an area hospital.

Route 35 will continue to be closed while crews cleanup and investigate the accident.

PUTNAM COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Officials have shut down Route 35 in Putnam County following a bad accident involving a tractor trailer, a motorcycle and an SUV. It happened sometime after 2:30 pm Sunday.

Putnam County dispatchers says someone was trapped in the crash, and there are definite injuries. However, they aren't able to release many other details.

Dispatchers say the accident happened on Rt. 35 in the area where crews are widening the road. As of now, police are diverting traffic over the Buffalo bridge and onto Rt. 62.

Emergency crews are now waiting for a life-flight helicopter to take patients to an area hospital.

We have a crew on the scene and will bring you more as this story develops.

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