SOUTHSIDE — A second fatality in a little more than two months has occurred on U.S. 35, once again in the Southside area on the 14.6-mile stretch of highway that remains two lanes.
The Mason County Sheriff’s Department reports Kenneth McMillan, 60, of Point Pleasant, was pronounced dead at the scene after being struck by a vehicle driven by Jeremy R. Seibert, 24, of Continental, which is located in Putnam County in the northwest part of Ohio.
According to the sheriff’s department, McMillan was operating his 2003 Harley Davidson motorcycle in the northbound lane of U.S. 35. Sunday when he was struck by Seibert, who was driving a 2003 Mazda Protege that was traveling south. The accident occurred near the county line in Southside.
The official accident report says Seibert was allegedly in a no-passing zone attempting to pass vehicles when he struck McMillan. Amy Seibert, age and address unreported, was also injured in the accident and transported by Health Net to Cabell Huntington Hospital in Huntington and was reportedly in fair condition.
The sheriff’s department reports charges are pending and the investigation is ongoing.
On April 2, John Kay, 46, of Southside, was also killed as a result of injuries he sustained in an accident on U.S. 35 in Southside. As previously reported, according to the Mason County Post of the West Virginia State Police, Kay was traveling southbound on U.S. 35, driving a farm tractor on the two-lane stretch of road just past Yauger’s Farm Supply. Cars were behind Kay, including a Subaru SUV driven by John Howard, 68, of Gahanna, Ohio.
Howard began to pass cars in front of him at a high speed in a no-passing zone, according to Post Commander Sgt. T.S. Mills. Kay reportedly saw no vehicles coming in the northbound lane and began to turn when Howard, who was driving alongside in the no-passing zone, ran into the tractor, causing it to overturn, Mills said. The tractor overturned near Kay Lane in Southside.
Mills anticipates charges to be filed in the accident and on Monday said results of the accident re-creation scene were still pending, but the case remains one the post is still very much investigating and pursuing.
Shortly after the accident that claimed Kay’s life, Mason County Commission President Rick Handley, representing the county commission, met with West Virginia Commissioner of Highways Paul Mattox and members of his staff, including DOH engineers. Accompanying Handley was Mason County resident Mike Criste and daughter Maggie, then a senior at Point Pleasant High School — the Criste’s live in the area on W.Va. 817.
The meeting was about making that stretch of two lanes safer in light of the Kay fatality. Some of the suggestions included more signage such as putting up a sign on each end of the two-lane stretch telling drivers who are not familiar with the road that they will have 14.6 miles of two lanes ahead of them. More signs were also suggested alerting motorists to farmers and farm equipment using the road. Another suggestion from the meeting included taking out some of the passing zones on that 14.6-mile stretch.
These suggestions were to be taken by DOH and considered, though on Monday, Handley said to his knowledge none of the suggestions had actually been implemented. It should be noted that both accidents occurred in already marked no-passing zones, according to law enforcement.