MARTINSBURG, W.Va.—The driver of the pickup that fatally struck a trash collection truck worker on Dominion Road near Gerrardstown, W.Va., on March 7 has died, police said this week.
Stephen J. Vigh Jr., 75, of Gerrardstown, passed away at his residence on May 1, according to his obituary.
State Police Trooper W.M. Roden, who investigated the crash, said Vigh was cleared of any wrongdoing in the accident.
“The investigation revealed that Mr. Vigh was not speeding or operating his vehicle in an erratic manner,” Roden said in an email.
“It appears Mr. Vigh was driving off the right side of the roadway to give the garbage truck even more room (at the time of the accident).”
According to witnesses, Tabler closed the truck door and turned to walk across the road, probably to pick up garbage from a residence, when he was struck by the pickup, Roden said.
The garbage truck was parked about 1 inch from the center yellow line, Roden said. And after parking the truck and exiting the vehicle, Tabler would have ultimately been placed directly in the northbound lane of traffic, according to Roden.
An autopsy by the medical examiner revealed that Tabler died from the injuries he received in the accident and he was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol, according to Roden.
Roden concluded that Vigh had not committed any criminal act and indicated Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney Pamela Games-Neely agreed with his determination.
According to the Division of Highways, there were 64 accidents involving pedestrians in Berkeley County from 2010 to 2012, with 48 occurring in the City of Martinsburg. The number of pedestrian crashes in the city has increased incrementally each year since 2010, when 14 were recorded, according data released by state Division of Highways Safety Studies Engineer Chris Kinsey.
In 2012, City Hospital’s trauma team was activated for 29 patients who had been struck in pedestrian accidents, up from 24 in 2011 and 17 patients in 2010, according to Donnie Grubb, the hospital’s trauma coordinator.
Among the 29 patients treated last year, 10 were age 17 and younger, the most of any age group, according to the hospital. Six were between the age of 26-35 and five patients were 55 and older.
Five of the 29 patients were from Jefferson County, according to the hospital.
Of the total 70 trauma team activations for pedestrian accidents from 2010 to 2012, 27 patients were discharged from the emergency department, 20 required critical care admissions and 23 required admission for medical-surgical or orthopedic unit placement, according to the hospital.
There were a total of 20 Priority I trauma team activations and 47 Priority II, according to the hospital. Three others were directly admitted after being transferred from other hospitals.
Grubb said the hospital did not have any fatalities listed from the total number of activations over the three-year period.
In 2011, there were 31 pedestrian deaths statewide, including two in Berkeley County and three in Jefferson County, according to the state’s Health Statistics Center in the Department of Health and Human Resources. Statistics for 2012 were not available.