The Buckhannon Police Department has released the names of two people who were killed in a wreck at the intersection of Route 33 and Childers Run Road Thursday evening.
According to police chief Matt Gregory, Harry Matthew Hymes II, 82, and Sarah Downes, 65, both of Buckhannon, died in the wreck.
The crash occurred as Hymes was driving southbound on Childers Run Road and attempted to cross Route 33 in a 2007 Chevy Cobalt, Gregory said. He pulled in front of a Freightliner tractor-trailer traveling east on Route 33, toward Elkins, which collided with the passenger side of the car, knocking the vehicle off the road and onto its top.
The tractor-trailer was driven by Benjamin Carl Ellis II of Spring, Texas, who was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital for evaluation. The truck was owned by Landstar, a transportation services company based in Jacksonville, Fla.
Downes was a passenger in the Chevy Cobalt.
Gregory said the wreck occurred at 7:15 p.m. and Hymes and Downes were pronounced dead at the scene at 7:38 p.m. Both were wearing seatbelts.
Cpl. Darin Hissam with the BPD is the investigating officer; he was assisted by patrolman Tanner Collins. The Buckhannon Fire Department and Upshur County EMS also responded to the scene.
The Route 33 intersections with Childers Run and Kesling Mill are among the most dangerous in Upshur County and have been the site of numerous wrecks over the years. Gregory said their safety needs to be continuously evaluated by the W.Va. Department of Highways.
Buckhannon mayor David McCauley mourned the loss of Hymes in a Facebook post Friday morning.
“With great sadness, I regret to share with our B-U community, the very sudden passing of our longtime assistant city attorney and former municipal court judge, H. Matthew ‘Matt’ Hymes II,” McCauley wrote. “Matt was an alumnus of Buckhannon-Upshur High School, West Virginia Wesleyan College, and graduated from the West Virginia University law school.
“He was a longtime law partner with Coleman & Wallace, a 50+ year member of the Buckhannon Lions Club, a parishioner at First United Methodist Church, a veteran of our armed services, a former adjunct instructor at Wesleyan and a fixture on our tennis courts. In recent years, Matt had volunteered as a tennis coach with the B-UHS tennis team.”
McCauley said the city is devastated by Hymes’ passing.
“Matt supported all things involving the children of our community,” the mayor wrote. “All of us at city hall and our city organization are devastated with his loss, and we grieve Matt’s passing with his family, friends and all of us who dearly loved him.”
Gregory, too, worked with Hymes for years at the city.
“I knew Matt for the bulk of my career,” Gregory said. “He was a gentle man and a professional, and he will be sadly missed.”