Benjamin David Norvell, 32, was arrested Tuesday by Cpl. C.K. Zerkle of the Mason County Detachment of the West Virginia State Police on two counts of DUI causing death stemming from a Jan. 20 accident on Sand Hill Road that killed Matthew D. Scott of Columbus, Ohio, and Ryan Beckner of Point Pleasant.
According to the state police, Norvell allegedly had been driving under the influence and had a blood alcohol level that was over the legal limit, which is .008 in West Virginia. The state police would not release Norvell’s blood alcohol level.
On Jan. 20, the three men were celebrating Scott’s birthday and were on their way home. Norvell was driving his 1993 GMC Sonoma pickup truck east on Sand Hill Road when he went off the right side of the road, lost control and struck a utility pole. The accident happened near Finch Drive.
Scott and Beckner were pronounced dead at the scene. Norvell was taken to St. Mary’s Medical Center in Huntington by helicopter with serious injuries.
Members of Mason County Emergency Medical Services and the Point Pleasant Volunteer Fire Department responded to the scene as well.
According to the West Virginia code, driving under the influence of alcohol, controlled substances or drugs is considered when a person drives a vehicle and has an alcohol concentration in his or her blood of eight hundredths of 1 percent or more by weight.
The driver could be guilty of a felony if he or she performs any act that is forbidden by law or fails to perform any duty imposed by law while driving under the influence and that act or failure leads to the cause of death of any person within one year of the act or if the driver commits the act or failure in reckless disregard for the safety of others and is shown to be a contributing cause to the death. Upon conviction of this charge, the person can be imprisoned in a state correctional facility for 2-10 years and fined $1,000-$3,000.
Norvell appeared before Magistrate Cheryl Ross Tuesday and posted a $20,000 property bond.