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One Killed, Twenty-Three Injured in Bus-Truck Accident With PM-Southern Fires

November 7, 1987

BECKLEY, W.Va. (AP) _ Smoke from forest fires was blamed for a collision between a chartered bus and a stalled pickup on the West Virginia Turnpike early today in which one person was killed, state police said.

″It happened so fast. There was a truck in the road with no lights and the driver tried to swerve to keep from hitting him,″ said bus passenger Otha Robinson, 49, of Columbus, Ohio.

″We went off the embankment and the next thing I know we were just going down the hill crashing into trees and things,″ Robinson said.

Bus passengers said it was ″extremely smoky″ on the highway near Beckley in the southern part of the state. Smoke from more than 100 forest fires in southern West Virginia has reduced visibility throughout the area during the past several days.

Killed was 12-year-old Emory Davis of Pearisburg, Va., who was traveling in the pickup with his father, Carl. The boy had been flagging down traffic and was crushed between the bus and a trailer hitched to the truck, said Sgt. Don Sizemore of the State Turnpike police. The father was unhurt.

Twenty-three of the 47 people on the charter bus were taken to Raleigh General Hospital in Beckley, said Trooper C.R. Shaffer. The bus was carrying a Columbus church choir to appearances in North Carolina.

Most of the injured suffered broken bones, bruises and cuts, said choir official Florene Solomon. The passengers ranged in age ″from 3 on up,″ she said.

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