A Thursday morning accident on Martinsburg Road east of Berkeley Springs claimed the life of a Martinsburg man and injured a local resident who was able to walk away from the wreckage of the head-on collision. The accident happened shortly after 7:30 a.m.on Thursday, December 14.
Joshua C. Catlett, 31, of Martinsburg succumbed to injuries he received in the crash.
Police said Catlett’s eastbound Hyundai Kona crossed the center yellow line in the area of Defense Drive — in the 3700 block of Martinsburg Road — and struck a Ford Escape being driven by Robert Garrison, 65, of Hedgesville.
Lt. Seth Place of the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department is the lead investigator in the case. Witnesses told him that Garrison tried to avoid Catlett’s vehicle as it crossed the center line, but he was unsuccessful.
Lt. Place said there was no evidence of braking by either vehicle at the scene, meaning the two cars hit each other while going at full speed. Both vehicles sustained heavy front-end damage in the collision. Fire crews had to use extrication equipment to remove the top of Catlett’s damaged vehicle to get him out.
Garrison was able to walk away from his vehicle but was later transported by EMS for care of non-life-threatening injuries.
Lt. Place’s investigation found that Catlett was driving on a suspended license. The officer also reported that distracted driving was a factor in the crash. Catlett’s cell phone was found in his hand in his lap, on an active social media account.
Martinsburg Road was shut down for roughly 2.5 hours before being reopened after the accident was cleared. The Sheriff’s Department was assisted by Morgan County EMS, Berkeley Springs Volunteer Fire Department and the West Virginia Division of Highways.