They're For Cargo, Not People

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Updated: 8/8/2013 6:30 P.M.

The popularity of pickup trucks since the 1980's is, in part, the reason for extended cab pickups. Those are trucks which can carry more than just front seat passengers.

But in Wednesday's fatal accident in Clay County, there were nearly a dozen people riding in the truck which struck a guardrail, and overturned.

Six were in the cab, and five, including a teenager who was killed, were riding in the bed.

"Due to the design and the nature of the pickup truck," says Sgt. James Stout II, West Virginia State Police, "a lot of times when they lose control, they have a lot of momentum behind them, which causes the wrecks to be a little more serious."

With more passenger room in today's pickups, it is less likely truck beds have to carry passengers. But, if certain conditions are met, it is not illegal to ride in the back of a standard truck.

"If it's a regular cab pickup, you would have an adult driver," the trooper says. "Then, there are two seat belt positions which have to be filled, preferably by juveniles, if they are present, before anyone can legally ride in the back of the truck."

Sgt. Stout adds, however, that riding in the back, even if legal, can be dangerous, considering the winding nature of many of West Virginia's roads and highways.

Back in 1999, a teenager who had just graduated from Parkersburg South High School died, when he was ejected from a pickup truck that crashed on lost pavement road.

He and four other passengers had been riding in the back of the truck at the time.


WALLBACK, W.Va. (AP) - A teenager is dead and 10 other people are injured following a single-vehicle wreck in Clay County.

West Virginia State Police tell media outlets that a pickup truck driven by 18-year-old Isaac Murphy went out of control and crashed around 4 a.m. Wednesday. The accident occurred on W.Va. Route 36 near Wallback.

State police say 17-year-old Clay County High School student Kara Conley was killed. The others suffered non-life threatening to serious injuries and were taken to hospitals in Charleston.

Police say the other victims' ages range from 14 to 20.

State police spokesman Sgt. Michael Baylous says speed was a factor.

The investigation is continuing.

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