By Kyle Lovern
August 28, 2013
WILLIAMSON - Updates have been received from the West Virginia State Police (WVSP) concerning an accident that occurred in the early morning hours on Saturday that involved officers with the Williamson Police Department (WPD) and the Mingo County Sheriff’s Department (MCSD).
WVSP Trooper D.L. Contos, who investigated the accident, told the Williamson Daily News that, although his report has not been completed, the preliminary evidence gathered shows that both police cruisers involved were responding to a 911 call of a fight in progress at the Three-Way Lounge located beside of the Armour Crossing.
The MCSD Ford Explorer that was operated by Cpl. Phillip Muncy was traveling on Harvey Street in the direction of the underpass and the WPD cruiser driven by Lt. Grady Dotson and Sgt. Jimmy Spence was coming down Third Avenue. The two vehicles met at the intersection and made contact. Contos stated that the SUV struck the rear portion of the driver’s side of the city cruiser before it spun out and slammed backwards into the brick wall near the underpass. The county SUV then proceeded to crash head first into another portion of the wall.
Both vehicles were totaled and all three officers were transported to the Williamson Memorial Hospital for treatment. Sgt. Spence suffered the most serious of the injuries that include four spinal fractures and a head wound, which resulted in a transfer to the Cabell Huntington Hospital for evaluation by a specialist. His condition is said to be improving but he is expected to be absent from work for an indefinite amount of time. Lt. Dotson sustained lacerations to his head and neck which required stitches and also complained of soreness and pain. Cpl. Muncy suffered a tear to a stomach muscle and is also reportedly bruised and sore. Dotson and Muncy are both currently off active duty, but are expected to return as their conditions continue to progress.
Trooper Contos remarked that he is currently at the WVSP Academy in Institute, but will continue the investigation upon his return to the Williamson detachment. At that time he will be taking the statements from the officers involved in the accident and others who witnessed it.
Barry Blair, the Chief of Police for the City of Williamson, also contacted the Williamson Daily News to release a statement concerning the collision, and stated that his main concern was for the safety and welfare of his officers. He stated he was very thankful they didn’t suffer more extensive injuries than what was reported.
“First of all, I want to say that this accident is under investigation by Trooper Contos of the West Virginia State Police,” stated Blair, “and I haven’t been able to speak to him, nor have I seen an accident report so what I know so far - isn’t a lot. I can say that Grady Dotson is feeling better and is steadily improving and we are expecting Jimmy Spence to be released from the hospital to continue his healing process at home and that is encouraging news.”
“I would also like to say that I did not direct the business where the cruiser was transported to following the accident to not allow photos to be taken, this is evidently their policy and I respect that, but I did not give the order,” said the chief. “If I had more information on the cause of the accident or the particulars of the investigation I would gladly relay that to the media, but I don’t have access to an official report at this time.”
Cpl. Phillip Muncy also spoke about the accident and said that he will be giving an official report of the circumstances surrounding the accident to Trooper Contos after he is back in Williamson and will be happy to speak to the media after that takes place.
Additional information concerning this unfortunate accident will be released as official details becomes available.