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One Dead in Track Team Accident

October 15, 1998

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) _ Two vehicles carrying members of a high school cross-country team collided head on en route to a meet Wednesday, killing one teen-ager and seriously injuring three others.

One adult and six members of the Fairmont Senior boys team were headed to a league championship meet in Whitehall. The accident occurred on a nearby rural road at 3:30 p.m., an hour before the start of the meet

Seth Burton, 17, of Fairmont died in the crash, said Sheriff’s Deputy Sgt. J.C. Riffle. Burton was a passenger in a Ford Festiva carrying five boys.

Dozens of tearful relatives gathered in the emergency rooms at two hospitals where the victims were taken. The seven-team high school meet was canceled.

Fairmont Senior, last year’s Class AAA boys champions, was undefeated and ranked No. 1 in the state this year.

Burton and Jay Urse, 15, were in the car driven by Michael Bartolf, 16, along with passengers Randy Melgarejo, 17, and Justin Underwood, 16.

Riffle said it was unclear why the boys were leaving the golf course. Bartolf apparently veered into the path of the van as the car came to the base of a hill, Riffle said.

There was no indication that alcohol was involved, he said.

Catherine Wilmoth, 39, the driver of the van, and Andy Wilmoth, 14, were treated and released from Fairmont General Hospital, said nursing supervisor Patty Bunner.

Melgarejo, meanwhile, was in critical condition late Wednesday night at Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown. Urse was in serious condition and Underwood was listed as fair, a nursing supervisor said.

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