(ROANOKE, W.Va.) – A Fourth of July tubing accident in West Virginia has killed a New Albany woman.
The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources says a boat was towing Sara Hutchinson, 29, and two friends on Stonewall Lake when the driver swung too close to an embankment, and apparently made a sharp turn to avoid a crash. Sergeant Ryan Schafer says the three women were thrown into a pile of rocks and branches on shore. Hutchinson was killed — the other two women are in serious but stable condition.
Schafer says Hutchinson was attending college in West Virginia. He says the man piloting the boat, another friend of Hutchinson’s, was distraught when officers arrived, to the point where officers had to ask him to help with CPR while an officer took the helm to bring the boat back to shore.
Schafer says there’s no indication of any “ill intent” in the accident. He won’t disclose whether alcohol was involved, saying the investigation is still ongoing. He says officers are still talking to witnesses, and should deliver their findings next week to Lewis County Prosecutor Christina Flanigan, who will decide whether there’s any basis for criminal charges.
Schafer says Hutchinson was an organ donor, and “was able to do one last act of kindness and save a lot of other people’s lives.” He says from talking with her family since the accident, it sounds typical of the kind of person she was.
The accident comes three weeks after two people from LaPorte were killed in North Carolina when their tubes went over a dam.