SUTTON, WV (WDTN) – A West Virginia crash that killed a firefighter, Ohio woman and her daughter is suspected to be a murder-suicide.
According to Nexstar’s WOWK, 42-year-old Latonya Bell, of Cleveland, Ohio and her daughter, 8-year-old Havana Pipkin, died in the crash Sunday. Firefighter John D. Forbush, 24, also died while trying to rescue the victims.
The crash happened around 2:30 p.m. in Sutton, West Virginia, about a quarter-mile north of exit 62 on I-79 and Sutton along the Elk River.
Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal Robert Bailey said off-duty firefighter Forbush was working less than a mile away when he heard the initial call on his radio.
When he arrived at the scene, Forbush communicated on his radio that the victims appeared to be trapped inside the vehicle. He then jumped into the river to attempt to rescue them. He drowned in the incident along with the mother and daughter in the vehicle. Their bodies were recovered from Elk River around 4:26 p.m., according to WOWK.
A deputy and state trooper pulled another man from the water that was attempting to rescue the victims and was beginning to go under. He is expected to be OK.
According to WOWK, Braxton County officials said Monday the incident is believed to be a murder-suicide. Officials said security video of the crash shows Bell driving in the parking lot of a senior center along Route 4 before steering the car into the river.
In a statement, Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal Robert Bailey said the following:
John D. Forbush selflessly gave his life for strangers in need. He proudly served the Gassaway community for 4 years as a volunteer firefighter. His service to the community will forever be remembered. Summersville Fire Department, from Nicholas County, also responded to the scene with Dive Rescue resources. Fire departments from around the region will continue to provide resources and support to the Gassaway VFD and the citizens of Braxton County.Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal Robert Bailey