Driver in fatal wreck on Route 20 North arrested for negligent homicide

BUCKHANNON – The driver of the dump truck involved in a fatal April 20 wreck on Route 20 north of Buckhanon has been arrested for negligent homicide.

Richard A. Marple, 71, of Buckhannon, was arrested at about 7 a.m. Wednesday, April 27 in connection with a two-vehicle wreck that occurred in the early morning hours of April 20, resulting in the death of the other driver, Larry R. Green, 63, of Buckhannon, according to Upshur County Sheriff’s Office chief deputy Mike Coffman.

This was the second fatal wreck involving Marple within the last six years, court documents show. He was also a driver in a fatal wreck in 2016.

According to the initial story on the April 20, 2022 wreck, Marple’s dump truck was heading south on Route 20 near the Schumaker Road at about 5 a.m. when he allegedly lost control and collided with Green’s 2022 northbound Toyota Corolla.

Both drivers were trapped and had to be extricated from their vehicles, and Green was pronounced dead at the scene. Marple was transported to St. Joseph’s Hospital by Upshur County EMS.

A criminal complaint filed Wednesday by sheriff’s deputy T.R. Collins in the Upshur County Magistrate Clerk’s office reveals more details about the collision. According to the complaint, Collins determined Marple had been driving “in excess speeds for the road” prior to losing control, crossing the double yellow line and striking Green’s car head-on.

The criminal complaint says Marple told law enforcement the rear end of his 2018 International dump truck “slid out from underneath him before the curve and he attempted to oversteer his vehicle” as he headed into the turn. Marple also told officers he had a PICC line as a result of a recent medical procedure and was taking multiple medications, according to the report.

“Mr. Marple had to use a cane to walk, and he was unable to walk a distance without sitting down,” Collins noted in the complaint. “Mr. Marple was also wearing a closed-toe medical shoe on both feet.”

Marple’s wife allegedly told officers “she had to get [Marple] up for work since he was running late,” the report states.

When Collins arrived at the scene of the wreck, he saw the dump truck resting on its side, facing north in the southbound lane, and the Toyota Corolla “resting alongside the northbound guardrail with the roof missing from the vehicle,” according to the report.

A search of court documents in the Upshur County Magistrate Clerk’s Office shows Marple was initially charged with negligent homicide, a misdemeanor, in connection to a separate Dec. 5, 2016 wreck on Route 33 in which he reportedly struck a log truck that had pulled off the road. The log truck’s driver, James Livengood, was standing alongside the truck’s trailer at the time of the wreck. He was transported to St. Joseph’s Hospital by Upshur County EMS but died as a result of his injuries.

At the time, Marple told investigating officers “he was looking for a candy bar in this lunch box and when he looked up, he was hitting the rear of the trailer of the log truck,” court documents show.

According to the file in the magistrate clerk’s office, Marple ultimately pled guilty to a lesser charge, failure to maintain control, in a plea agreement reached Nov. 28, 2017.

Upshur County Sheriff Virgil Miller and Coffman said Wednesday that the April 20, 2022, wreck is still under investigation, and additional charges may or may not be filed “depending on the outcome of the final investigation.”

Upshur County Magistrate Alan Suder set bail at $50,000 cash or surety. According to court documents, while on bond Marple is subject to random alcohol and drug screenings and is not permitted to drive or operate any commercial vehicle in the State of West Virginia.

The possible penalty for a conviction of negligent homicide is imprisonment for up to one year, a fine ranging between $100 and $1,000 or both.

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