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Wrong-way crash kills one on I-77 early Thursday

By From staff reports

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A Kanawha County man was killed when a driver headed the wrong way on Interstate 77 crashed into his truck early Thursday.

Edward Pete Bryant, 48, of Mile Fork Road in Big Chimney, was headed to work early Thursday in his 1993 Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck when he was struck on Interstate 77.

It was 2:30 a.m. and Eddie's normal time to head out for work at Medford Trucking on U.S. 60 near Malden, his mother Mary said from her Big Chimney home Thursday evening. He'd driven a coal truck for the outfit for five or six years, she said.

"He was a good man, a hardworking man," Mary Bryant said of her son. "He worked six days a week."

He was heading south on I-77 near the Westmoreland Road area, just north of Charleston, when Angela Renee Walker, 46, of 44th Street in Charleston struck him head on.

Investigators found that Walker had been driving her 2013 Hyundai Elantra north in the southbound lanes, said Capt. Sean Crosier, spokesman for the Kanawha Sheriff's Department. Mary said she was told the woman got onto the highway the wrong way at Greenbrier Street.

Crosier said investigators believe alcohol was a factor in the crash. Deputies worked at reconstructing the crash Thursday morning.

Both Eddie and Walker, who were alone in their vehicles, were taken to Charleston Area Medical Center's General Hospital. Bryant was pronounced dead at the hospital. Walker sustained serious injuries and remains under evaluation in the Intensive Care Unit, a hospital operator said.

Mary Bryant and her husband, Edward Sr., were in Pittsburgh visiting her brother who is being treated in a hospital burn unit when family members called with the news. They rushed home immediately after.

"It was shocking news," she said, her voice breaking.

She said they texted back and forth often, but she saw him last on Saturday.

Mary and her husband live just up the road from Eddie and had to pass by his house to get to their own. Eddie enjoyed working on trucks and had just bought the old S-10. He also recently purchased a Corvette, but didn't take it out of his garage much in hopes of keeping the mileage low and the vehicle in good condition, she said.

He was out in his yard Saturday replacing the pickup's truck bed when they passed by. She said they stopped and her husband helped their son get the truck bed on and straightened out.

"He got out and helped him," she said of her husband. "We're like that, just a close family."

Eddie, who would have turned 49 next Friday, is the second of Mary and Edward Sr.'s four children. He was close to all of his siblings, especially his older sister, his mother said.

Mary said Eddie had two grown children from a previous marriage. He was engaged to be married, but the couple had not yet set a date.

Her daughter recently purchased cemetery plots for her family and had a few left over, the mother said.

"She said the others were in case anyone in the family needed one," Mary said. "He's the first to need one."

Funeral arrangements had not yet been made Thursday evening.

The crash remains under criminal investigation. Anyone with information may contact deputies at 304-357-0169 and speak with Lt. F.D. Beasley II or Deputy J.L. Lester. Callers may remain anonymous.

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


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