Two people removed an unresponsive driver from his crashed SUV last Thursday just before the vehicle caught fire, police officials said.
Lt. Seth Place of the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department investigated the March 8 single-vehicle crash, which happened in the 3000 block of Martinsburg Road.
According to Lt. Place, the driver – Gary W. Mellott, 65, of Berkeley Springs – ran off the right hand side of the road as he headed eastbound on Martinsburg Road. Mellott’s 1994 Ford Explorer struck a mailbox and chainlink fence then hit a log which sent his vehicle up in the air. The SUV spun around and hit the ground, coming to rest against a tree on private property.
Residents of the property came out to check on the driver and noticed he was unresponsive, said Place. A female, who was visiting the area from out of the state, and a male bystander pulled Mellott from his vehicle as it caught fire from the collision.
Lt. Place said his investigation points to the driver having had a medical emergency prior to the crash. There was no indication at the crash scene that Mellott attempted to apply his brakes before crashing, he said.
Fire from the vehicle caught the woods around it on fire and local fire crews responded quickly to protect a nearby home.
There are no charges pending in the case. Mellott was transported from the crash scene to receive medical care.