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UPDATE: 3 Of 4 Surviving Victims In Wirt Co. Fatal Accident Released From Hospital

By: Erin Pulsanti Email
By: Erin Pulsanti Email

Update 8:07 PM 06/04/2012

Three of the four surviving victims of a Memorial Day weekend accident in Wirt County are out of the hospital.

According to State Trooper Matthew Jarvis, one of the four surviving young men was released from the hospital the day of the accident, two others have also been released.

He says the fourth victim remains at the Charleston Area Medical Center.

Trooper Jarvis says since the victims are all under the age of 18 WVSP policy states that their names are not released.

WTAP will bring you any further updates in this case as they become available so stay tuned to WTAP and WTAP.com.
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Update 6:40 P.M. 05/29/2012

Even before the memorial to Justus Ratliff began Tuesday, students were comforting each other. And the emotions came as much from Ratliff's fellow Big Reds football players...as from his friends away from the gridiron.

"He wasn't just my best friend, he was my brother," said teammate Chandler Hamilton.

But among the tears, also came smiles: a reminder that Justus Ratliff could make them laugh.

"He was friends with everyone," recalled Ishmael Ward. "He was a funny guy, a prankster."

It wasn't just friends who spoke about Justus. From Ratliff's father came a reminder that alcohol is suspected as a cause of friday night's accident.

"I have no animosity toward anyone," said Eric Ratliff. "But please think before you get into that vehicle after drinking."

This tragedy happened on the last day of school for the year, and the beginning of a long holiday weekend. A weekend made even longer because of what happened to Justus and four other students.

"It's just been hard...crying a lot, a lot of sorrow," said Ward, who gave his own emotional speech.

Justus Ratliff would have been a junior this fall at PHS. He will be laid to rest on Thursday...one day after what would have been his 16th birthday.

Information about his funeral arrangements is available on our "obituaries" page.

A memorial fund has been established in his name...through west virginia central credit union...to help with his funeral expenses.

Charleston Area Medical Center tells us one of the victims from Friday night's crash was upgraded to satisfactory condition.

Another is in serious condition.

The two other victims, we are told, have been treated and released.

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UPDATE: 8:26 PM 05/27/2012

Sources confirm the five young men involved in the Friday night fatal accident in Wirt County are from Wood County.

Three of the five males were taken by helicopter to the Charleston Area Medical Center. The hospital confirms that two of those males remain in the Intensive Care Unit Sunday evening. One remains in critical condition and a condition on the second young man was not available. The third males status has been upgraded to satisfactory.

The condition of the male taken to Camden Clark Medical Center was not available.

Parkersburg High School student Justus Ratliff was pronounced dead on the scene after the car he was traveling in crossed the center line, hit a tree and flipped. The accident happened along Route 53 shortly before midnight on Friday.

Leavitt Funeral Home is handling the final arrangements. Ratliff's
obituary is posted on our web channel.

West Virginia State Police Sgt. W.K. Marshall says speed and alcohol are believed to be contributing factors in the accident. He adds that none of the young men appeared to be wearing their seat belts.

The Sergeant says accidents like Friday night's (where young people, excessive speed, and alcohol are involved) are tragically all too common.

"These things happen all the time. It's not just New Years Eve, Memorial Day weekend, Fourth of July," Sgt. Marshall explains. "These things happen all the time. So, it obviously does attract more attention when it happens on a holiday weekend like this. Certainly, these young men had no intention of being part of a statistic this weekend. Unfortunately, that's what happened."

Stay tuned to WTAP and WTAP.com for the latest on this accident as it becomes available.
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UPDATE: 11:34 PM 05/26/2012

WTAP has confirmed the name of the deceased victim in Friday night's fatal Wirt County accident.

Leavitt Funeral Home confirms Justus Ratliff died from the injuries he received in the accident. Leavitt will be handling Ratliff's final arrangements.

Stay tuned to WTAP and WTAP.com for the latest on this accident as it becomes available.
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UPDATE: 5:14 PM 05/26/2012

A juvenile male is dead, three others are in critical condition and one is stable condition after a Friday night accident in Wirt County.

West Virginia State Police Sergeant W.K. Marshall III says shortly before midnight Friday emergency officials were called to the scene of a single vehicle accident along State Route 53 with five juvenile males inside the car.

The car crossed the center lane, drove off the road, hit a tree and flipped.

One of the victims was pronounced dead on the scene. Three other male juveniles were taken by helicopter to the Charleston Area Medical Center where they are listed in critical condition. The last juvenile was taken to Camden Clark Medical Center where he is listed in stable condition.

Sergeant Marshall says ages of the victims range from 15 to 18 and it does not look like any were wearing seat belts. He adds that alcohol is suspected in the crash.

"We're still gathering information and facts. Obviously, there's a lot of moving parts in this situation. But we believe speed and alcohol are contributing factors with this crash."

Since all the victims in the crash are under the age of 18 their names are not being released at this time.

Stay tuned to WTAP and WTAP.com for the latest on this accident as it becomes available.
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UPDATE 10:52 PM 05/26/2012

The West Virginia State Police is investigating a fatal crash in Wirt Count.

Troopers say one person was killed and four others were taken to the hospital after an accident at the intersection of Blaze Run and Standingstone roads.

No further details are being released. Stay tuned to WTAP News at 6 & 11 and WTAP.com for the latest as it becomes available.
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Shortly before midnight Friday emergency crews responded to a single vehicle accident at the intersection of Blaze Run and Standingstone roads in Wirt County.

Officials at the Wood County 911 Center say the call of the single vehicle accident with injuries and entrapment came in around 11:52 p.m. Friday night.

The West Virginia State Police, Wirt County Sheriff's Office and Wirt County Volunteer Fire Department responded to the scene. Three ambulances and three helicopters were called in to transport the five victims to area hospitals.

The identification of the victims and the extent of their injuries are not being released at this time.

Stay tuned to WTAP News at 6 & 11 and WTAP.com for the latest as it becomes available.


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