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Woman Killed, Three Teenagers Injured When Man Wanted for Making Terrorist Threats Drives Wrong-Way on WV Turnpike

GHENT, W.Va. – A Miami man wanted in Pennsylvania for making terrorist threats drove 2 miles the wrong way into oncoming traffic on the West Virginia Turnpike before crashing head-on with a vehicle driven by Lisa McCormick of Knoxville, Tennessee. At the time of the fatal crash, Lisa’s three teenage daughters were traveling with her.

Unfortunately, Lisa died as a result of the head-on collision, and her three girls are in critical condition, according to state police Sgt. John Alexander. Alexander said the girls are ages 14 and 16 with the age of the third unknown. The three teenage girls were flown to the Charleston Area Medical Center via HealthNet.

The head-on crash occurred on Sunday after Rafael Herrera, 43, of Miami, Fla., exited the Ghent toll plaza and headed the wrong direction on the West Virginia turnpike. “We knew about (Herrera), but we couldn’t get to him,” Alexander said. In that area the Turnpike is divided by dense woods making it impossible for the West Virginia State Police to intercept Herrera before the fatal crash, said Alexander.

Herrera was hospitalized in Beckley with non-life threatening injuries. He’ll face charges stemming from the fatal collision once he’s discharged, Alexander said. Sgt. M.A. Painter says Herrera is wanted in Pennsylvania on a charge of making terrorist threats.

This is a horrific tragedy we all hate to hear about. It reminds us how fragile life is and that our family can be gone in an instant. Perhaps we can find some meaning in this fatal crash and use it to remind ourselves of how thankful we are for loved ones. Or better yet, perhaps we can go a step further and tell our loved ones how much they mean to us.

By Brooks West, Attorney at West Law Firm

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