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The driver of this Chevrolet truck believed officers directing traffic at the intersection had waved him through when he hit the side of a westbound SUV on Route 33. / Photos by Katie Kuba

Stoplight outage at Brushy Fork-Route 33 intersection likely contributed to two-vehicle wreck Thursday

BUCKHANNON – Two people were transported to the hospital with possible injuries following a Thursday morning collision at the intersection of U.S. Route 33 and Brushy Fork Road.

According to the police report, a power outage that caused the traffic signals that normally govern the dangerous intersection to fail likely contributed to the two-vehicle wreck. The accident report, filed by Sgt. Mark Stewart with the Buckhannon Police Department, says the wreck happened at 10:18 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 20, when a red 2019 Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck, driven by John Martin, 85, of French Creek, was traveling north on the Brushy Fork Road and struck a gray-colored CADI XT5 SUV, driven by Ernest Ware, 87, of Buckhannon.

The gray SUV had to be pulled out of this ditch on the side of Route 33 following the wreck.

The gray SUV had been traveling west on Route 33, heading toward Weston.

Stewart’s report says Martin, the pickup truck driver, believed law enforcement officers on scene directing traffic were waving him through the intersection.

“Due to a power outage, the lights at Route 33/Brushy Fork Road were not working and several officers were directing traffic,” Stewart wrote. “[The driver of the Chevy Colorado] thought an officer was waving him through the intersection.”

However, according to the officer, he had been “attempting to get [the driver] stopped,” the file says. The pickup truck proceeded through the intersection and struck the gray SUV in the side, causing the SUV to run off the road into a ditch near the W.Va. Division of Highways building.

The two occupants of the CADI XT5, Ware and a passenger, were taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital by Upshur EMS with possible injuries, but Martin, the pickup truck driver, refused medical transport. Stewart did not issue any citations but noted Martin failed to the right-of-way and disregarded traffic signals.

The accident happened approximately an hour and 15 mins after the Upshur County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management urged drivers to use extreme caution due to the power outage affecting the stoplight.

Power to the traffic signals had been restored by Thursday afternoon.

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