Sign pays tribute to man killed in crash

PARKERSBURG – A highway sign as a memorial to a man killed in a traffic accident in February was erected Tuesday on West Virginia 21.

Gregory Starcher, 21, Rockport, was killed on Feb. 8 when his truck collided with another truck driven by Jamie Thompson, 32, of Mineral Wells. In August, Thompson in a plea agreement pleaded guilty to DUI of a controlled substance causing death and possession of a controlled substance, Oxycodone, and sentencing is Oct. 28.

Sherry Starcher, Starcher’s sister, and his mother, Robin Starcher, contacted the Division of Highways for the sign, which warns motorists not to drink and drive in memory of Greg Starcher.

The Starchers live near where the accident occurred. Seeing the sign will be emotional and evoke memories of the day her brother died.

“We travel that road every single day,” Sherry Starcher said.

“It reminds you of everything,” she said. “It’s not good at times. More than anything in the world, he was my best friend.”

The sign was obtained through a roadside memorial program of the Division of Highways. Roadside Memorial Signs are placed by the Division of Highways as close as possible to the site where a fatal motor vehicle crash occurred.

Three messages are available, “Please Drive Safely” for all victims of highway fatalities, “Please Buckle Up” available for highway fatalities where the victim was not wearing a seat belt and “Don’t Drink and Drive” for victims of a crash involving alcohol or drugs.

Signs can be requested within three years of the fatality.

The cost is $200, which includes the installation and maintenance for three years. from the date of installation. A second three-year installment is available for $200 and at the end of the period, the sign will be removed and offered to the applicant.

Applications are available from the Traffic Engineering Division at 304-558-3063 or Roadside Memorial Sign Program, WVDOH, Traffic Division, Building 5, Room A-550, 1900 Kanawha Blvd. E, Charleston, WV 25305-0430.

Starcher was driving to work at Wal-Mart when the collision occurred.

Thompson, driving a Ford F-150 south on W.Va. 21, swerved into the northbound lane and struck a Chevrolet S-10 driven by Starcher, according to the Wood County Sheriff’s Department.

Starcher’s truck was forced into a house. He was pronounced dead at Camden Clark Medical Center and Thompson was taken to Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown.