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Car accident on I-77 kills Ripley woman, puts truck driver in ICU

A deadly car accident has taken the life of one driver and left another in the ICU ward of Charleston Area Medical Center. The accident occurred on southbound I-77 in Kanawha County, close to the Tuppers Creek Exit on the afternoon of May 31. After seeing the amount of damage to the cars and how far it was spread across the highway, a Department of Transportation employee proclaimed that it was the worst car accident he has ever seen.

According to reports, a 28-year-old woman from Ripley was driving a Chrysler Sebring on northbound 1-77. Her best friend was driving in front of her in another vehicle. As her friend watched in horror, the Sebring crossed over the center line for unknown reasons and entered the southbound lanes -- directly into the path of an oncoming FedEx semi-truck.

What resulted was a head-on crash that killed the woman instantly. Sadly, although her friend pulled over to help, it was too late.

A previous news report had said that the FedEx driver was taken to a hospital and is expected to be okay. However, a later report says that the driver remains in ICU at Charleston Area Medical Center. His condition appears to be more serious than was initially estimated, but the precise extent of his injuries is still not known. Hopefully the police investigation will be able to bring some insight into what caused the Ripley woman to cross unexpectedly into opposite traffic.

Whenever you're driving on West Virginia roads, vigilance is a requirement -- both for your own safety and for the safety of others. Taking your eyes of the road for only a second could result in a tragedy that could inalterably change the lives of the injured parties and their families. Please drive carefully.

Source: WSAZ News Channel 3, "UPDATE: Ripley Woman Killed in I-77 Crash in Sissonville," Brooks Jarosz, Anna Baxter & Jeremy Edwards, June 1, 2012

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