Drivers identified in fatal I-79 crash

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A West Virginia University student from Pennsylvania remained hospitalized in critical condition Thursday following a crash on Interstate 79 a day earlier that claimed her sorority sister’s life.


Emily Benford, 19, of Rockford, was being treated at UPMC Presbyterian hospital, Pittsburgh, where she was flown following the crash at 4:18 p.m. Wednesday on I-79 north near the Marianna interchange in Amwell Township, WVU spokesman John A. Bolt said Thursday.


The passenger in Benford’s car, Sarah Graham, 21, of Frederick, Md., died at the scene after the 2004 Ford Focus began to spin out of control, struck guardrails, spun back across the road and collided with a northbound West Penn Power line-repair truck, state police said. The truck driver, Marvin Powell, 50, of West Alexander, was not injured.


“It’s sad and tragic when something like this happens,” Bolt said.


He said Benford and Graham’s sorority, Delta Gamma, will hold a candlelight vigil for Graham at 6 p.m. today at its house. Graham was a junior marketing major at WVU.


The university was making grief counselors available for members of the sorority, Bolt said.


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