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Two seriously injured in morning wreck on U.S. Rt. 60

Jan. 07, 2009 @ 09:57 PM

ONA -- Two women were seriously injured in a head-on collision that closed U.S. Rt. 60 near Ona on Wednesday morning.

The crash happened around 9:45 a.m. Wednesday near the Dollar General store along U.S. 60. The adult women were trapped inside separate vehicles.

Authorities said Theta Beckelhiemer, 62, of Ona, was driving a silver Dodge Durango that witnesses said swerved and crossed the center line, hitting a car driven by Mary Webb, 69, of Milton, head-on.

Beckelhiemer was flown by HeathNet helicopter to Cabell Huntington Hospital before 10:30 a.m. Webb, who was driving a gold Honda Accord, was transported to the hospital by Cabell County EMS around 10:45 a.m.

"Obviously, it was a pretty severe impact," said Cabell County Sheriff Thomas McComas.

McComas said the accident remains under investigation.

Cpl. Michael Wintz, the investigating officer, said he had been to the hospital, and that both women were still in surgery Wednesday evening.

"I don't think that there are any life-threatening injuries," but both drivers were severely hurt, he said.

Both women were listed in critical condition Wednesday night, according to a hospital official.

Authorities had to close U.S. 60 and divert traffic onto Interstate 64 in response to the accident. U.S. 60 reopened around 11:20 a.m.

It's not the first time serious wrecks have occurred in that area of U.S. 60, McComas said.

"That accident is within just feet of where two Cabell Midland students were killed two years ago. There have been numerous wrecks in that area of recent years," he said.

McComas said information from Wednesday's accident will be sent to the Highway Safety Commission in Charleston and records will be reviewed to see if the area is in need of immediate attention.

He said more traffic in that area may be on the way, too, as the accident occurred near the entrance to a housing development now under way.

"It's an area that's growing with residential and commercial property," he said.

Volunteer firefighters from Barboursville, Milton and Ona responded to Wednesday's accident, along with the Cabell County Sheriff's Department, West Virginia State Police and Cabell County EMS.

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