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Driver charged in wreck that killed Gilley family

Charged

Bertram Copeland

PRINCETON, W.Va. — An Illinois truck driver faces charges in a crash last year that killed a family of four from Salisbury on a southern West Virginia highway.

West Virginia State Police Sgt. C.F. Kane told the Bluefield Daily Telegraph that 41-year-old Bertram Copeland of Rockford, Illinois, was charged with four counts of negligent homicide and reckless driving.

Kane says Copeland was arraigned in Mercer County Magistrate Court last week and is free on bond.

Kane says a tractor-trailer driven by Copeland crashed into a vehicle along Interstate 77 last April. Killed were David and Christine Gilley and their two children, Jack and Grace.

Mercer County Emergency Management Director Tim Farley says the southbound truck crossed the median, struck the Gilleys’ vehicle, rolled onto its side and caught fire. Copeland suffered several broken bones.

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