KELLEY’S CREEK, W.Va. — A Kanawha County volunteer firefighter was killed in a vehicle accident early Wednesday morning in eastern Kanawha County.
Glasgow VFD member Brandon Mooney, 22, of Cedar Grove, was thrown from an overturning jeep in the Kelley’s Creek Road area at just before 3 a.m. according to Kanawha County sheriff’s deputies.
Mooney and three women passengers were on their way to an area called Devil’s Tea Table when Mooney lost control on a dirt and mud path several hundred feet from Five Mile Hollow Road. None of the four people in the jeep were wearing seat belts, deputies said. They were ejected as the vehicle rolled 300 feet down an embankment. One of the injured women called 911 for help.
It took first responders about 40 minutes to find the crash site because of its remote area. The woman who called 911 was unsure of how to direct first responders to get to their location, according to Sgt. Brian Humphreys with the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office.
“It’s not well-populated. There aren’t a lot of landmarks of course. If you know your way around out there I’m sure it’s easy to find, but trying to describe to someone else how to get there is a challenge,” said Humphreys.
Vertical rescue equipment was used to reach those involved.
“They had tied off a rope and the used a wrench off one of the rescue trucks, but there was still a lot of man-handling on it. Everybody kept tugging on the rope, getting them up the hill,” Kanawha County Deputy Emergency Manager C.W. Sigman told MetroNews.
Sigman said the hill was “almost too difficult to walk up,” so firefighters, paramedics and deputies had a difficult time getting the victims back up the hill.
Alcohol was found in the jeep and may have been a contributing factor in the crash, investigators said.
“Is that a factor? It’s a possibility. It’s something that we’ll look into, but I also don’t want to cast any accusations on someone without any information,” Humphreys said.
Three women were transported to the hospital, but one woman has been released, according to a relative, Sigman said. The extent of their injuries ins unknown.
A chaplain had been called to the Glasgow department to offer assistance to firefighters. The VFD lost firefighter Michael Clark, 21, in a separate traffic accident last month.
“It’s really taking a toll on them. These guys are real close together and they’re having a tough time with it,” said Sigman.