UPDATE (7/22/20 11:07 a.m.):
PLEASANT VALLEY, W.Va. – Lawrence Messina, with the West Virginia Department of Homeland Security, has released new information on an incident in which a boater hit a man in the Tygart River before leaving the scene.
According to Messina, the injured swimmer remains in stable condition and is under medical care.
The boat’s owner-operator and its other occupants approached state police troopers on Sunday evening, seeking to provide information regarding the incident. They were directed to DNR investigators, with whom they have been cooperating since, Messina said.
Investigators add that the public has provided instrumental and critical information in the case.
DNR Police do not expect to release details regarding the individuals involved while the investigation is ongoing.
UPDATE (7/20/20 1:45 p.m.):
The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Police has confirmed that the operator of the boat that struck a man in the Tygart River before fleeing the scene on Saturday has been identified.
Officials said that the investigators have identified the boat involved in the incident, its operator and three additional occupants. Officials said that no charges have been filed at this time, while the investigation remains open and DNR Police pursue additional information.
The swimmer who was injured in the incident is currently in serious, but stable condition, according to DNR officials.
The DNR Police said they thank the public for their continuing assistance with this case.
ORIGINAL STORY (7/19/20 8:10 p.m.):
The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources is asking for the public’s help after a man swimming in the Tygart River on Saturday July 18, was struck and injured by a boat that then fled the scene.
According to the DNR, a 22-year-old male swimmer was struck around 4:35 p.m. near the east side bank of the river, about one-half mile south of the Benton’s Ferry Bridge.
The victim sustained serious injuries and was transported to Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown by the Marion County Rescue Squad.
Initial witness accounts described the boat that struck the swimmer as a white runabout “speed boat” that may have a yellow zig-zag pattern on its sides. The boat was occupied by approximately five white, middle-aged individuals and was driven by a white male.
After the boat struck the swimmer, it slowed and its occupants looked back at the victim, but it then sped away north on the Tygart River toward the Benton’s Ferry Bridge.
Prior to striking the swimmer, the boat and its occupants would have been operating on the Tygart River south of the Benton’s Ferry bridge in an area of the Tygart River that is lined with numerous homes and camps and is a popular boating spot that is frequented by many watercraft.
Anyone with any information regarding this incident, including the identity of the owner(s), operator, and occupants of the boat involved, is requested to contact the WV DNR LES, through the Marion County 911 Center at (304) 367-5300 or at the DNR District 1 Headquarters, in Farmington, Monday-Friday 8:30 am – 4:30 pm , at (304) 825-6787.
Assisting the W.Va. DNR LES with the investigation are the Whitehall Police Department, Fairmont Police Department, Marion County Sheriff’s Department and the W.Va. State Police. The Marion County Rescue Squad, Valley Fire Department, and Winfield Fire Department responded to the scene and were responsible for the care of the victim.