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Witness: victim of hit-and-run acted as a ‘hero’

December 4, 2013
By Chad Clem - Staff Writer , The Inter-Mountain

BEVERLY - An eye-witness believes the victim of a recent hit-and-run incident should be considered a hero for pushing another potential victim out of harm's way.

Joseph Browning, 18, was struck by a car Friday at the intersection of Dodson Run Road and U.S. Route 219 outside Beverly.

Jackie Simmons, an eye-witness at the scene, told The Inter-Mountain Tuesday that the relative said Browning pushed him out of the path of the car.

"My sister and I had come up after (the accident) had happened and stopped to help and called 911," Simmons said by phone.

According to Simmons, the boy said he and Browning were walking on the side of the road when the car appeared. The boy told her Browning pushed him out of the way of the vehicle and instead was struck himself, she said.

"He pushed (the relative) out of the way so that he wouldn't be struck by the car," Simmons said. "He was acting as a hero."

Police arrested Matthew Blake, 32, of Junior, on one count of DUI causing personal injury, one count of leaving the scene of an accident, one count of possession of a controlled substance and one count of first possession of marijuana less than 15 grams, all misdemeanors.

Blake is being held in the Tygart Valley Regional Jail on $30,000 bond.

When police arrived at the scene Friday they found Browning was being attended by a passerby who stopped to check on his condition, according to the criminal complaint filed in Randolph County Magistrate Court.

Police were advised by witnesses at the scene that the suspect had fled in a tan 1985 AMC Eagle, according to the compliant prepared by Trooper D.T. Stallings of the West Virginia State Police.

Police were able to locate a vehicle that fit the description, the complaint states. The driver of the car, Blake, told police he had struck Browning on U.S. Route 219 "while attempting to answer a telephone call on his cell phone," according to the criminal complaint. He also told police that he was "prescribed several medications, which might have impaired his driving," according to the complaint.

When Blake and his vehicle were searched, police found a "substance consistent with marijuana" as well as two needles, a metal spoon with residue, two glass smoking devices, and three prescription bottles containing prescribed medication, the complaint states.

Later, when interviewed, Blake told police he had used methamphetamines and was still in possession of them, according to the criminal complaint.

Blake advised officers that he struck Browning and "initially stopped to check on his condition" but then "'freaked out' and left the scene of the accident in his, now damaged, vehicle (sic)," according to the criminal complaint.



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