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Charleston assistant city attorney killed in head-on crash

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- An assistant city attorney for the city of Charleston died in a head-on collision on MacCorkle Avenue in South Charleston overnight, South Charleston police said.

Eugene Webb, 36, of South Charleston, was heading west shortly before midnight when his Ford F-150 pickup truck drifted into the eastbound lane near Riverwalk Plaza and ran into a UPS tractor-trailer truck, South Charleston Police Chief Brad Rinehart said.

Webb was severely injured and transported to a hospital, probably Thomas Memorial, Rinehart said. "It was bad."

Police are investigating the cause of the accident, the chief said. "We're not sure if [Webb] went to sleep or what."

The driver of the UPS truck had minor injuries, Rinehart said.

The South Charleston Fire Department closed the eastbound lanes of MacCorkle Avenue near Riverwalk Plaza for about two hours because of the accident, Kanawha County Metro 911 reported.

Charleston Mayor Danny Jones issued a brief statement Tuesday, saying he joined hundreds of city employees in mourning the loss of Webb, a senior assistant city attorney who had worked in the city attorney's office since June 2007.

"Gene was a very nice young man and a first-rate attorney who handled many of our cases in Municipal Court and helped with legal insights on other city issues," Jones said. "He always treated people with respect and was a key part of our legal team. We're saddened by this sudden tragedy and join his family and many friends in mourning his loss."

One of two assistant city attorneys, Webb shared Municipal Court duties with Mandi Carter, City Attorney Paul Ellis said during an impromptu news conference in his City Hall office Tuesday morning.

"They divided traffic court days," Ellis said. "He had a number of responsibilities, a lot of police issues."

Though he learned about Webb's death early Tuesday, Ellis and other city officials would not comment publicly about it until they were sure family members were notified. Webb was not married, he said.

"I'm just trying to get through the day. I've got a lot of fond memories; none in particular comes to mind now," Ellis said, struggling to speak while surrounded by TV cameras. "He's an East Bank boy. He always had to talk about his boys, sports, guys like Jason Williams."

Webb worked as an assistant prosecutor for Kanawha County before joining the city staff six years ago, Ellis said.

"I believe he had an offer from the U.S. Attorney's Office and an offer from here, and he decided to come here."

Reach Jim Balow at balow@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5102.


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