Norwalk teenager killed by drunken driver

NORWALK A drunk driver in Hinkleville, W.Va., struck and killed a 2008 gra
Cory Frolik
May 24, 2010

 

NORWALK

A drunk driver in Hinkleville, W.Va., struck and killed a 2008 graduate of St. Paul High School on Wednesday night.

Daniel Duncan, 18, of Norwalk was killed on his bicycle in a hit-and-run that occurred about six miles south of West Virginia Wesleyan College in Buckhannon, W.Va.

Even though emergency crews were on scene four minutes after Duncan was hit, the force of the collision was so severe that rescue efforts were of no use, said Upshur County Sheriff Virgil Miller.

Duncan died from multiple trauma injuries.

A recent St. Paul graduate, Duncan moved two weeks ago to attend college as a freshman at the small, private liberal arts college located about halfway between Charleston, W.Va., and Pittsburgh, Pa.

"He rode his bike all the time here, but there wasn't any kind of club or sport here, so when he went to West Virginia Wesleyan, he joined up with a biking club there," said his mother, Karen Duncan.

The fatal collision took place at about 8:50 p.m. Wednesday night along West Virginia Route 20, a county road with a speed limit of 55 mph.

Riding on his bicycle, Duncan was traveling in the northbound lane, tiptoeing the shoulder of the road, Miller said.

At the same time, Roger Lee Harrison Jr., 23, was driving a Ford Ranger pickup truck south on Route 20.

Authorities describe Harrison as a "transient-type" who only moved to the state this spring, leaving behind in other jurisdictions a trail of warrants for his arrest for minor offenses.

While trying to pass another vehicle, Harrison pulled into the northbound lane, authorities said. That is when he struck Duncan head-on.

Harrison immediately fled the scene, but witnesses at a nearby convenience store helped identify him and his truck. Within hours, deputies located Harrison and arrested him.

Because there was good evidence Harrison had been drinking, the crimes he was charged with were enhanced. He faces charges of leaving the scene of a fatal accident and driving under the influence resulting in death. Both charges are felonies.

Harrison was arraigned and in custody at the Tygart Valley Regional Jail. He was unable to post his $100,000 bond.

Duncan's mother described her son as special. Despite having just arrived there, Karen said her son was already making a name for himself on campus.

"He impacted every single life he touched, whether the person was 2 or 92. Everyone who knows Daniel loves Daniel," she said. "The college vice president told us they have never been impacted more by a student who had only been there two weeks than they were with Daniel. He was already in the jazz band, the choir and the select choir."

Duncan was a political science major at Wesleyan.

"Daniel was bright and talented and the type of student who would make significant contributions to our campus community. This truly is a terrible loss for Wesleyan," said Larry Parsons, Wesleyan vice president for academic affairs and dean.

Duncan also leaves behind his father, Rob, and six brothers and sisters: Hannah, 17, Jordan, 15, Timmy, 12, Lydia, 10, Micah, 7, and Joey, 3.