Berkeley Springs resident believed to be lone victim in crash & car fire

Virginia police believe that a Berkeley Springs resident was the driver and lone victim in a single vehicle crash on U.S. 522 in Frederick County near Cross Junction on Tuesday, August 23. In a press release, the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office reported that the severity of the crash and vehicle fire afterwards complicated the identification of the victim, but interviews lead them to believe that Benjamin Douglas, 25, was the driver of the vehicle. Family members told police that Douglas traveled the route daily for work. According to Frederick County police, the accident happened shortly before 3 p.m. last Tuesday. A 2015 VW Golf was southbound in the 6000 block of North Frederick Pike when it left the roadway, drive along the grassy shoulder for approximately 40 yards, then struck a large tree head-on. After the initial collision, investigators found that the car continued into the woods another 60 feet and came to rest on its roof. Police said the force of the impact separated engine and transmission components from the chassis of the car and ruptured the fuel line. That started a fire which consumed the vehicle and set nearby brush on fire. Fire and rescue companies from Gainesboro and Reynolds Store responded to the accident scene and extinguished the fires. They then located the remains of the driver inside the burned vehicle. Police said a positive identification of the driver must await the results of an examination of the remains by the Medical Examiner. An investigation into the cause of the crash is ongoing, but police said speed is believed to be a factor. The southbound lanes of U.S. 522 were shut down for several hours during the response to the crash and reopened at 7:30 p.m.