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Friends remember man killed in I-64 crash

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Friends say the Putnam County man killed in a crash earlier this week on Interstate 64 near Cross Lanes "was one of the good guys."

William Zachary Hudnall, 25, of Scott Depot died Tuesday from injuries sustained in a multiple vehicle crash that occurred early Monday morning near Cross Lanes.

He was heading east on Interstate 64 about 1:15 a.m. Monday when he came upon an unknown vehicle without lights. The vehicle was either stopped or moving very slowly near the Cross Lanes exit, said Lt. Sean Crosier of the Kanawha Sheriff's Office. Hudnall crashed his 1990 Toyota Celica into the vehicle and went out of control.

His vehicle then was struck in the rear by a Ford cargo van, driven by David Westover, 56, of South Charleston, then forced into the path of a Buick LeSabre, driven by Mark Puvyear, 45, of Louisa, Ky.

Hudnall was traveling alone at the time and was the only injury reported from the crash. He was taken to Charleston Area Medical Center's General Hospital where he died Tuesday.

The vehicle Hudnall struck fled the scene. Witnesses described it as a pickup truck, possibly with round taillights.

Crosier said the vehicles did not strike bumper to bumper, so deputies suspect the other vehicle was a pickup that sits slightly higher than normal. The lieutenant said the vehicle would have substantial rear-end damage.

Friends and family immediately began praying for Zach after hearing of the crash and his injuries. They reached out on Facebook and Twitter for others to pass the word.  

They gathered Wednesday evening at Applebee's in Teays Valley, where Hudnall worked, for a candlelight vigil in his memory, said friend Bryan England.

Hudnall was the first friend England, 24, made when he moved to West Virginia in 2006. They lived together for 2 1/2 years before England got married and moved out.

"I know it's a cliché thing to say when someone passes away, but Zach was one of the good guys," England said. "He was one of the most well liked guys. He treated everyone how he wanted to be treated."

That was something he learned from his father, Bill, said longtime friend Jordan Kessler, 25.

"His dad said at the vigil that he taught his son to be nice and caring to everybody," Kessler said. "That's just the way Zach was. He was a nice guy all the time no matter what."

Hudnall had a tight knit circle of friends that included England and Kessler. They both described him as fun loving, goofy, and reliable.

"We've got tons of pictures of Zach and in each one he's got a different face, but they're all goofy," England said. "When he was a senior in high school he did the news broadcasts -- he just had that TV personality. He was huge into comedy."

Hudnall graduated from Winfield High School in 2004. He attended West Virginia State University and was a year away from earning a degree in communications, England said.

He said Hudnall's easygoing personality made their time living together argument free.

"It was amazing, we did not have one argument in the 2 1/ 2 years we lived together," England said. "He was just so easy to get along with."

The two hung out often and horsed around. Hudnall was a big fan of mixed-martial arts and almost never missed a televised UFC fight, England said. He even took a few lessons. England said they sparred occasionally in the apartment and that when he would often find himself in a headlock after trying to take Hudnall down.

"We did everything that best friends do," England said. "He was a good dude. It's hard to believe he's gone."

Kessler, who turned 25 last week, celebrated his birthday with Hudnall. The two lived near each other and attended Winfield High together, with Kessler a year behind Hudnall. They became friends when Hudnall started giving Kessler rides to and from school.

Kessler, who graduated from Marshall University in May, said Hudnall was a huge sports fan and loved the West Virginia Mountaineers. He said the man always was upbeat about everything.

"He would always make everything fun," Kessler said.

He recalled a recent winter snowstorm that left him stranded at the apartment Hudnall shared with England. They woke up the next morning starving and decided to trudge the short distance to a nearby grocery store to buy food for breakfast.

They bought more food than they needed and made a huge breakfast. It was a memory the young men still joked about.

Something they didn't joke about was Hudnall's devotion to his friends and family.

"He was just a real stand up guy," Kessler said. "He would do anything for anybody at any time. He was always there for me."

Kessler said Hudnall sat at his bedside when he was hospitalized last year after an incident in Morgantown and drove him home when he was released. Kessler said he did the same for Hudnall earlier this week.

"I couldn't stand seeing him laying on that bed," he said. "I couldn't take him home like he did for me."

England said what he will miss most about Hudnall is his friendship and his support.

"Even after I got married, at the drop of a hat, if I needed anything I could call him," England said. "If I needed anything done, if I needed anything moved or if I just needed to talk to someone, he'd be there.

"The security of that is something I'll sorely miss."

England, who teaches at Andrew Jackson Middle School in Cross Lanes and coaches freshman basketball at Winfield High, said Hudnall's father allowed close friends to take something of Hudnall's to remember him by.

England took Hudnall's freshman basketball jersey.

"It's something special because that was the only year he played," England said. "He loved sports and we always played ball together. It's part of who he was."

The group of friends remains close.

"It's a testimony to Zach that we're so close and now we're missing that piece," England said. 

A tribute will be held at 1 p.m. today at the Davis Creek Church of the Nazarene with Pastors John Anderson, David Clark and Chad Pauley officiating. Burial will follow at Haven of Rest Memory Gardens and Crematorium in Red House.

The family will receive friends beginning at noon Friday at the church.

Anyone with information on the other vehicle involved in the crash can contact Deputies S.M. Adams or T.A. Fouch at 304-357-0160.

@tagline:Contact writer Ashley B. Craig at ashley.craig@dailymail.com or 304-348-4850.


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