1 dead after police chase ends in fiery crash in Dept. of Highways parking lot

Generic photo of a vehicle fire | Cropped Photo: Jason Bolonski / CC BY 2.0
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BERKELEY COUNTY, W.Va. (WHSV) — Police say one person is dead and three others injured after a police pursuit on Interstate 81 ended with a fiery crash in Berkeley County Monday evening.

According to West Virginia State Police, a state trooper was patrolling on the northbound side of Interstate 81 near mile marker 14 around 9:09 p.m. on June 24 when he observed a black Buick driving erratically as it merged onto the interstate.

When the trooper tried to pull the vehicle over, police say the driver continued to drive erratically and refused to stop.

However, the driver – identified as 36-year-old Apollo R. Bey, of Hagerstown – shortly lost control and ran off the side of the interstate near mile marker 16, crashing through a fence, into the rear parking lot of the West Virginia Department of Highways on Rockcliff Drive, where the Buick came to a stop against an unoccupied vehicle in the parking lot.

At the time of the collision, police say a 27-year-old man from Hagerstown was ejected from the front passenger seat.

After striking the Dept. of Highways vehicle, the Buick then caught on fire. Bey and two other passengers were trapped inside the burning vehicle and had to be pulled out by Trooper Merkich and Senior Trooper S.P. Hall.

One of those passengers, who was in the back seat, identified as a 38-year-old woman from Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, was pronounced dead at the scene by the Berkeley County Medical Examiner.

Bey and the other female passenger, 37-year-old Kimberly A. Knode, of Hagerstown, were taken to Berkeley Medical Center for treatment of their injuries. The male passenger who was ejected in the initial crash was airlifted to INOVA Fairfax Hospital with severe injuries.

His name and the name of the woman who died in the crash are not being released at this time as police work to notify next of kin.

West Virginia Senior Trooper S.P Hall sustained minor injuries while rescuing passengers from the burning car, but he has since been released from Berkeley Medical Center.

Police say the investigation into the crash is ongoing and charges are pending against Bey once it is finished.

The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office and Berkeley County EMS helped respond to the scene.