Victim struggles with life after hit-and-run

Christine Conley found in a ditch after being hit by a truck while walking near her home

BUCKHANNON — A Buckhannon woman says her life has been altered after being hit by a vehicle while walking along Route 20 in January.

Christine Conley was hit by a pick-up truck on Jan. 17 and the driver left the scene.

“It’s left me disabled, unable to work at the job that I really enjoyed doing,” she said in a recent interview. “It was the first time in my life that I had job that I really felt fulfilled in doing. I was a caregiver for people, making sure they could stay in their homes.”

Conley had been to Kroger to get groceries. She was returning the cart to the grocery store when she was hit by a pick-up truck.

“I was laying in front of my house in a ditch,” she said. “Quite a few people stopped and I heard someone say, ‘Are you alright?’ I said, “I don’t know,’ because I didn’t. There was someone else who shined a flashlight in my eyes and said, ‘Her eyes are sluggish.’ I remember hearing someone say that.

“The whole time I was in that ditch, I was just saying, ‘In the name of Jesus, I’m going to be alright.’ I didn’t feel any pain.”

Conley was taken by Upshur County EMS to a landing zone that was set up at Buckhannon-Upshur High School to be flown by HealthNet to Ruby Memorial Hospital. However, a storm moving through the area caused the helicopter to divert to St. Joseph’s Hospital.

No serious injuries were found after a full body scan, but Conley says she is still suffering the effects from the hit-and-run.

“I’m still suffering from the phobia of walking on the road,” she said. “That’s something I had done for almost 2 ½ years. I walk through the yards now.”

She now walks with a cane and a rolling walker to carry her belongings.

Conley had to give up her caregiving job and now plans to apply for disability. She is also doing what she can to make money while waiting for SNAP benefits to kick in.

“The food stamps would help provide for my food, but I don’t have anything right now,” she said. “Right now, I crochet to try to supplement my now low income.”

Conley’s crocheted items can be viewed at her residence on Route 20, two doors up from Freedom Bank. The house has a garage sale sign in the window.

Conley is also a consultant for Linen World and said people can contact the company directly at 1-800-536-2457 to sign up for a party under her name.

“Anyone who would be interested in having a party for me, I get 10 percent, “she said. “They tell them my name and the company does the rest. That’s what I do to try to help myself now.”

As for the hit-and-run suspect, Raymond Wilson, 43, of Buckhannon, was later arrested for leaving the scene with injury, a misdemeanor.

Investigating officer Cpl. Theron Caynor with the Upshur County Sheriff’s Department wrote in the criminal complaint that several witnesses described a red, “jacked up” Dodge truck belonging to a “Ray” who owns a landscape business and lives in Tennerton. Cpl. T.A. Menendez with the Buckhannon detachment located the vehicle. Menendez and Caynor both talked to Wilson, who denied being in the area when the incident occurred.

However, Caynor noted that the shopping cart that Conley was pushing had rubber marks on the gray paint from a tire and he found a mark on the front passenger side tire of Wilson’s truck.

Wilson has a hearing on March 28 and Conley said she hopes that any witnesses who saw the incident will be able to come to the hearing.

Wilson was arraigned in January before Magistrate Kay Hurst, who set bond at $10,000. If convicted, Wilson faces confinement in jail for not more than one year or a fine of not more than $1,000 or both.

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