|By Bob Weaver|
A year has passed since Grantsville resident 26-year-old Heather Richards Myer was tragically killed in a car wreck at Big Bend, her trauma-ridden body discovered in a yard, some distance from a Chevy Cavalier in which she had been a passenger.
Her family is still struggling to reach some understanding and acceptance.
The two surviving male occupants of the wreck are pointing at the other as the driver and State Police have yet been able to make any determination.
"The young man will not stand up and be responsible," said Heather's sister, Vicki Richards Poore.
"The State Police really botched the investigation from the very start, including not obtaining a blood alcohol from one of the subjects," she said.
"Our whole family has changed, from being mad at these young men and the incompetence of the State Police, to being mad at the world," Poore said.
Vicki Richards Poore (left) and Jessica Richards
(right) look at a photo of their sister, Heather
"This is not an accidental death."
"We'd like to put this to rest, but we just can't," Poore said.
Even though a reconstruction of the accident was done by State Police, they were unable to obtain forensics to determine who was driving.
"They (State Police) did tell us that Heather's blood and hair was found outside and underneath the car," said Vicki.
"Trooper Starcher told us that police do not have enough evidence to make charges." reportedly saying that local police "Don't do forensics like you see on TV."
Heather's dad, Larry Richards, reads plaque
she gave him after her high school graduation
"You just can't drink and drive and kill someone and get away with it. It is not supposed to be this way," said Heather's dad, Larry Richards, who is deaf and communicates by reading lips and using sign language.
The family has contacted about every person or agency to try and resolve the issue. "We're unable to let go of it," said Vicki, "We want the kids to know we did everything we could," saying the family has guilt over what they might have done to have prevented her death.
Richards and his wife Sue have taken Heather's children, Kamaira, 7 and Kaden, 6 to raise. Their father, James Myer works out of state, and cares for the children on weekends.
Heather's children, Kamaira and Kaden
Richards, openly weeping, said Heather's daughter often says "I want to die and go to Heaven to be with my mom."
"She was the best mother to these children," he said.
Richards raised Heather and his other daughters, Vicki and Jessica. "We've been very close, every day," he said, displaying a plaque Heather gave him when she graduated from Calhoun High School.
The Grantsville State Police declined a request to comment on the status of the case.
Calhoun Woman First Fatality Of 2006
What happened the night of the accident is unclear, but some explanation is offered from the police report.
The vehicle, belonging to Justin Boatwright, was traveling east on Rt. 5 at Big Bend when it went out of control, colliding with a fence post and a telephone pole, then striking another post and an electric pole, knocking some of them down. It was allegedly traveling at a high rate of speed.
At the time of the accident, authorities at the scene indicated Boatright was the driver, not sustained.
The vehicle was apparently rolling-over on the pavement before it went down a driveway, coming to rest in a yard.
Seventeen-year-old Andrew Jones, who was dating Heather, left the accident on foot down Rt. 5 to a friend's house. The Richards family says Jones did not call 911, nor did police obtain his blood alcohol.
Jones told police he drank "Budlight, just a couple, two," saying Boatright was the driver.
Justin Boatright, 24, was found seriously injured beside the vehicle. He was life-flighted to Charleston for medical treatment. The Richards family say police told them his blood alcohol exceeded the legal limit.
Boatright, who admitted to heavy drinking, said "I think he is lying," referring to Andrew's statement to the police, accusing Boatright of being behind the wheel.
Boatright then said he didn't know if Heather was in the car when it crashed, according to the police report.
Heather's body was discovered a considerable distance from the wrecked vehicle, across a driveway in the yard.
Police did a reconstruction of the accident several weeks later, the results were apparently inconclusive.
The family has been told one or more insurance companies intend to do their own reconstruction and investigation.