1 woman dead after car crashed into parked vehicle and caught fire, 3 others injured

West Virginia

Vehicle accident on I-81

BERKELEY COUNTY, W.Va. (WDVM) — Update: West Virginia State Police, Martinsburg Detachment reports one woman died at the scene of a car crash Monday night after the driver crashed into a parked car.

According to police, the driver of a 2014 Buick carrying three passengers struck an unoccupied, parked vehicle in the parking lot of the West Virginia Department of Highways off of Rockcliff Drive shortly after 9 p.m. The Buick then caught fire.

The woman who died has been identified by police as Machele Lynn Smith, 38 of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. She was trapped in the backseat of the Buick. The Berkeley County Medical Examiner pronounced her dead at the scene.

The driver of the car is identified by police as Apollo R. Bey, 36, of Hagerstown, Maryland. Bey and passenger Kimberly A. Knode, 37 of Hagerstown, were taken to Berkeley Medical Center for their injuries. Both were also trapped in the car and had to be pulled from the vehicle by Trooper First Class G.W. Merkich and Senior Trooper S.P Hall. 

Trooper Hall sustained minor injuries while pulling the occupants from the vehicle and was later treated and released at Berkeley Medical Center for his injuries. 

The front seat passenger, a 27-year-old Hagerstown man that the police are not naming at this time, was ejected from the car and was later flown to INOVA Fairfax Hospital due to severe injuries. His name will be released when the family is notified of his medical condition, police said.

Police said TFC Merkich was on road patrol in the northbound lane of Interstate 81 in the 14-mile marker area when Merkich observed a Buick being operated in an erratic manner as it merged onto I-81 at the 14-mile marker. 

When Merkich tried to stop the car, Bey continued to drive erratic and did not stop. Bey lost control and then exited the roadway on the east side of I-81 in the area of the 16-mile marker.  The car then traveled through a fence and into the rear parking lot of the West Virginia Department of Highways, which is when the crash occurred, according to police.

The investigation is ongoing and charges will be pending against Mr. Bey upon completion of the investigation. At this time, the family of the deceased has not been able to be located for notification, police said. Agencies responding to the scene and assisting included the West Virginia State Police, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Berkeley County EMS.  


Berkeley County Police have confirmed a vehicle crash on Interstate 81 at exit 16.

Police say the accident occurred just after nine Monday evening.

WDVM reached out to West Virginia state police but they are not releasing any information at this time.

We will keep you updated as more details become available.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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