New Martinsville residents Janie Lynn Partridge, 37, and her mother Bonnie Jane Thomas, 62, tragically lost their lives Sunday evening in a motor vehicle crash when their vehicle collided with the dislodged trailer from a tractor trailer on state Route 180.
There are conflicting reports of the direction each vehicle was headed, however it is known the two vehicles collided approximately one mile south of the state Route 2 intersection at 5:40 p.m. Sunday. State Route 180 was closed for nearly six hours as emergency responders worked to extract Partridge and Thomas from the vehicle and remove debris from the roadway.
Entrapped in the front seats of the vehicle, fire fighters used high pressure hydraulic rescue tools, often referred to as the "Jaws of Life," to extract Partridge and Thomas from the car which, according to New Martinsville Fire Chief Larry Couch and Wetzel County Medical Examiner Carla McBee, had been sheared almost completely in half by the impact. Partridge was pronounced deceased at the scene while Thomas was transported by Wetzel County EMS to the helipad at Wetzel County Hospital and was then flown by Air Evac Lifeteam to Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown. Thomas however died in the hospital shortly thereafter. The trailer sustained extensive damage though the driver of the tractor trailer and the tractor itself were uninjured.
New Martinsville and Paden City fire fighters, Wetzel County EMS, Wetzel County Sheriff's Office, New Martinsville Police Department, the West Virginia Department of Transportation Enforcement Division, and the West Virginia Department of Highways all responded to the horrific incident in efforts to aid in the rescue and ensure safety to the public. During the crash traffic was re-routed at state Route 2 and state Route 180 as well as at Paden Fork Road and state Route 180. The extensive damage to the roadway and removal of the debris including hundreds of 40-foot-long steel pipes. Also, investigation of the crash took several hours. According to Couch, representatives from the West Virginia Department of Highways relieved fire fighters from traffic control and made temporary repairs to the highway. The company owning the truck brought equipment in to collect and remove the trailers' cargo. Monroe Towing removed the trailer and Jackson's Towing removed the car.
The incident remains under investigation; the Wetzel County Sheriff's Office honorably withholds the release of any names of those involved in the accident at this time. The names of the deceased were gathered from obituary notices.