2 die in car driven into WVa river, 1 dies attempting rescue

May 2, 2022 GMT

SUTTON, W.Va. (AP) — An Ohio woman and child died after the woman drove her vehicle into a river in central West Virginia, and a volunteer firefighter died trying to save them, officials said.

The vehicle went into the Elk River in Braxton County, the West Virginia fire marshal’s office said. A Gassaway volunteer firefighter, John D. Forbush, 24, heard the initial dispatch and responded, the agency said.

An investigation by the Braxton County Sheriff’s Office determined that the woman intentionally drove her vehicle into the river, and the case was ruled a murder-suicide, the fire marshal’s office said.

Forbush jumped into the river after reporting there appeared to be people trapped inside the vehicle, but he was unable to free them and also lost his life, the fire marshal’s office said in a news release Monday.

The people inside the vehicle who died Sunday were identified as LaTonya Bell, 42, and Havana Pipkins, 8, both of Cleveland, Ohio.

Forbush had been a volunteer firefighter in Gassaway for four years.