UPDATE: Man charged in fatal 2016 truck fire pleads guilty
Update 2/7/2017 12 P.M.
A man charged with DUI causing death for a fatal truck fire in February, 2016 pleads guilty in Wood County Circuit Court.
Duane Hamrick, 45, pleaded guilty Tuesday morning to one count of Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol causing death.
His sentencing is scheduled for April 7 before Judge Robert Waters.
UPDATE: 12/06/2016 3:52 P.M.
A man charged with DUI causing death will go on trial early next year in Wood County.
Duane Hamrick was in Judge Robert Waters' court today and had his trial set for Feb. 7.
Matthew Stanley, 42, died after Hamrick's truck caught fire at the Parkersburg Memorial Gardens last February.
Parkersburg police says the men were out drinking and took a wrong turn into the cemetery, crashed into several tombstones and got stuck. Both men passed out in the vehicle.
Police say Hamrick attempted to get the truck out by holding down the gas pedal. That's when investigators think the front passenger tire caught on fire.
They say the truck filled with smoke and that Hamrick stumbled away from the scene, leaving Stanley behind.
UPDATE: 2/18/2016 1:50 AM
Parkersburg Police say the driver, 44-year-old Duane Hamrick, has been arrested and charged with DUI causing death.
Hamrick was arraigned Wednesday and released on a $5,000 bond.
If convicted, Hamrick faces three to 15 years in prison.
UPDATE: 2/17/2016 6:02 PM
investigators officially release the driver and the passenger's name from Saturday's fatal truck fire at the Parkersburg Memorial Gardens.
Parkersburg Police say the two men were out drinking Saturday night and took a wrong turn into a cemetery, crashed into several tombstones and got stuck. Both the driver and the passenger then passed out in the vehicle.
Police tells us the driver 44-year-old Duane Hamrick attempted to get the truck out by holding down the gas pedal. Investigators believe the front passenger tire caught on fire from the tire continuously moving in 4-wheel drive.
Officials say the car filled with smoke and Hamrick stumbled away from the scene, leaving 42-year old Matthew Stanley in the passenger seat.
Police arrived on scene shortly after 3:00 am.
Chief Joe Martin explains who found the body and why it took so long.
"Instead of using water the fire department used a foam agent that was already on the truck. The whole entire cab of the truck was filled up with this foam to extinguish this fire and it did take some time for the foam to dissipate and the steam to go away and at that point, once that happened, the wrecker operator that was on scene noticed that the body was inside the truck, notified one of our officers on scene and at that point we stopped towing procedures and that's when we began the investigation of the death," says Parkersburg Police Chief, Joe Martin.
Stanley's body was taken to Charleston for an autopsy. The autopsy shows he died from smoke inhalation.
Police intend to arrest Hamrick sometime soon and felony charges are expected.
UPDATE 2/17/16 4:15 PM
Officials say an autopsy has confirmed the identify of the man that died in this car fire.
The results show 42-year-old Matthew Stanley of Mineral Wells died from smoke inhalation.
Officers say they're continuing to review the evidence of this case to determine what criminal charge or charges will be filed against the driver, 44-year-old Duane Hamrick of Parkersburg.
UPDATE 2/15/16 12:03PM
The Parkersburg Police Department issued the following press release about the fatal vehicle fire in Wood County:
"The Parkersburg Police Department responded to Parkersburg Memorial Garden early Saturday morning, February 13 at approximately 0310 hours in reference to a vehicle on fire.
Also responding to the fire was the Parkersburg Fire Department who extinguished the fire. The remains of an unidentifiable body was found in the passenger seat of the truck. A person later identified as the driver of this vehicle was stopped by officers walking on 19th Street, a short distance away from the fire scene. This male subject was transported to CCMC for medical treatment.
Detectives obtained a search warrant for the vehicle and processed the interior of the truck. A body was removed from the truck with the assistance of the Wood County Coroner, Mike St.Clair. The unidentifiable body was sent to the Medical Examiners Office in Charleston for identification. The autopsy is scheduled to be completed on Tuesday, February 16 to determine the identity and the cause of death of the deceased.
Detectives were able to locate the remains of a wallet inside the truck that gave a possible identity of the person found. Detectives were not able to interview the driver/owner of the vehicle due to a very high level of intoxication on Saturday.
Further investigation by Detectives revealed that the driver and the deceased were long time friends and were out the night in question drinking. At some point the two took a wrong turn into the cemetery and later getting the truck stuck. The driver and the passenger passed out inside the truck. Based off the evidence found at the scene, the driver attempted to get the vehicle free from being stuck.
The ground was frozen and it would appear that these attempts went on for several minutes. The driver woke up with the cab of the truck filled with smoke, he exited the truck and stumbled away from the scene.
The fire appears to have started in the area of the front passenger side tire. The State Fire Marshall's Office also responded to assist in the fire investigation.
Once the results of the autopsy are known and the identity of the deceased are known, criminal charges will be filed against the driver of the vehicle."
WOOD COUNTY, W.Va. (WTAP) - The West Virginia State Fire Marshal's Office is investigating a fatal vehicle fire in Wood County.
The fire occurred Saturday morning.
Details are extremely limited, but officials with the Fire Marshal's Office say they believe the fire was accidental.
We'll bring you more information as it becomes available.