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RIPPON – Two women died Sunday afternoon in a two-car collision that closed U.S. 340 for nearly three hours near Rippon.

A driver and a passenger in a Toyota Yaris that slid about 1 p.m. on a wet roadway died at the crash site near a parking lot for the Rainbow Road Club and Diner, according to police. The driver and passenger were women, police reported.

The Yaris, which was traveling northbound on U.S. 340, slid across the highway’s center line before striking an oncoming Jeep Wrangler, according to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. The male driver and a female passenger in the Jeep were not injured.

The Toyota was heavily damaged on its passenger side. The front end of the Jeep, which was towing a small utility trailer, was smashed from the crash. 

As of midday Tuesday, police had not yet released the identities of the people involved in the accident. More details would be provided after further investigation, according to the Sheriff’s Office. 

In addition to Jefferson County sheriff officials, the West Virginia State Police, the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office and the emergency rescue responders in Charles Town, Ranson and Clarke County assisted at the scene.

Martinsburg man

sentenced to a year in jail for fatal crash

CHARLES TOWN – A Martinsburg man was sentenced to live a year behind bars Monday for causing a fiery, head-on collision in August 2019 that killed Tiffany Colangelo, 25, of Ranson.

Dante Lamont McCarroll Jr., 24, pleaded no contest to negligent homicide after causing the 2:30 a.m. crash on a curving section of Old Leetown Pike near Leetown, according to court records. The force of the collision drove a second oncoming vehicle, a Jeep driven by David Webster of Ranson, backward.

The Cadillac burst into flames after the crash. A passing motorist pulled McCarroll from the burning car but could not save Colangelo.

McCarroll and Weister, who was 41 at the time of the accident, were treated for serious injuries at area hospitals. 

Jefferson County Magistrate Arthena Roper imposed the maximum imprisonment allowed under law for a negligent homicide conviction, a misdemeanor that applies when a reckless driver causes a death. Charges of reckless driving, driving too fast for roadway conditions and driving on the wrong side of the road were dismissed for his plea of negligent homicide.  

Police determined that excessive driving speed primarily caused McCarroll to swerve his Cadillac across Old Leetown Pike’s centerline and into two other oncoming vehicles. But alcohol and distracted driving were possible contributing factors, police also concluded in court documents. 

Hours before, McCarroll socialized with alcohol at BenchWarmers Sports Bar and Grill in Ranson. In addition to maintaining he was briefly distracted by his mobile phone seconds before the accident, McCarroll admitted on social media after the crash that he had “multiple alcoholic beverages on the night of the crash,” according to court documents. 

That social drinking violated the terms of probation for two earlier burglary convictions, according to court documents. 

McCarroll could be made to serve more than seven additional years in prison for violating probation stemming from his previous burglary convictions, according to court documents.

A 2015 graduate of Jefferson High School, McCarroll was marked for a promising future. The summer before he graduated he was chosen to attend The American Legion Boys Nation, an opportunity given to only 98 youth with strong academic and leadership backgrounds. 

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