Single-vehicle accident results in two deaths

WILLIAMSTOWN – Authorities are investigating a single-vehicle accident which took two lives late Sunday afternoon at Williamstown.

Williamstown Police Chief Shawn Graham said the Williamstown Police Department investigated the single-vehicle accident which occurred about 4:50 p.m. Sunday on Highland Avenue (West Virginia 14) near the Williamstown Welcome Center near Interstate 77.

Graham said the driver of the vehicle was identified as Don Wesley Barnhart, 38, of New Matamoras, and the passenger as Henry Clemente Lori Jr., 52, of Marietta.

The 1995 Ford Mustang was northbound on Highland Avenue when it lost control and left the right roadway edge, Graham said. The vehicle overcorrected and went across the double yellow line before it overcorrected a second time and left the roadway, driving through a utility pole.

The force of the collision sent the vehicle across the property of River City Perk where Barnhart was ejected, he said. Both Barnhart and Lori were were pronounced dead at the scene, Graham said.

Graham said the accident remains under investigation and it has not yet been determined whether alcohol might have been a factor.

“Speed was definitely a factor, however,” he said Sunday night.

Witnesses reported the vehicle driving in an erratic manner and at a higher than legal speed in the moments before the accident, Graham said. At least one witness thought the vehicle might pass him on the right, on the gravel berm, before it went left across double-yellow lines to get around him, Graham said.

The vehicle was listed as a total loss.

The Williamstown Police Department was assisted in the investigation by members of the Wood County Crash Investigation Team. The Williamstown Volunteer Fire Department and St. Joseph’s Ambulance Services were both on scene as well.