Two die in fatal crash
By Evan Goodenow
For the Northern Virginia Daily
GORE – An 85-year-old Gore man who volunteered to deliver food to the needy and a 19-year-old Cross Junction woman who served food at a retirement community were killed on Sunday afternoon in a two-vehicle crash at Northwestern Pike (U.S. 50) and Back Mountain Road.
Roy Cecil Pugh, who was northbound on Back Mountain Road in a 1998 Jeep Cherokee, pulled onto Northwestern Pike and was struck by an eastbound 1998 Subaru station wagon, according to Sgt. F.L. “Les” Tyler, a state police spokesman. Tyler said he didn’t know if Pugh didn’t stop at the stop sign or stopped and then failed to yield to the Subaru.
The crash occurred just before 3 p.m.
Pugh was hospitalized at Winchester Medical Center, where he died about 5:30 p.m. Sunday. Majestik Luray Breeden, a passenger in the Subaru, died at the scene. Tyler said he didn’t know the condition of the 17-year-old driver of the Subaru, who he didn’t identify.
Tyler said Breeden and Pugh weren’t wearing seat belts; he wasn’t sure about the Subaru driver.
According to Tyler, the Subaru struck the driver’s side of the Cherokee. It’s unclear how fast the Subaru was traveling, but the posted speed limit in the area is 55 mph. Alcohol and drugs weren’t factors in the crash, Tyler said.
Makayla Adkins, Breeden’s aunt, identified the Subaru driver as Olivia Bragg, a close friend of Breeden’s. Adkins said her niece was born in the area, and the family moved to North Carolina before returning in 2013. She said Breeden worked as a server at The Village at Orchard Ridge, a retirement community in Frederick County.
Adkins said she was unsure where Bragg and Breeden were heading when the crash occurred. She said she last saw her niece at a family dinner on Saturday night, which included Breeden’s father, Dennis Breeden, and mother, Amy Puffinberger.
A tearful Adkins, 20, described her niece as her best friend. She recalled Breeden supporting her when she was bullied at school.
Adkins said Breeden enjoyed riding horses and loved animals. She remembered Breeden comforting a dying calf on her father’s small farm. Adkins described Breeden as loving and outspoken, but forgiving.
“She was her own person,” Adkins said. “She just loved everybody and stuck up for everybody and did what was right.”
Born in Capon Bridge, W.Va., Pugh was a carpenter, crane operator and mechanic who loved farming and hunting, according to his obituary. Pugh, an Army veteran, was a husband and father of three daughters and one son. He was also a longtime volunteer driver for the Winchester Rescue Mission.
Devin Roy, the rescue mission’s director of program services and development, had known Pugh since 2014. He described him as kindhearted, direct and deeply religious.
Roy said Pugh and his wife, Helen Flo Pugh, rode together to drop off food for the needy. Helen Pugh, who married Roy Pugh in 1952, died in December of 2014. After her death, her husband stopped making deliveries due to failing health.
But in mid-2015, Pugh resumed deliveries for needy people in Gore despite having to walk with crutches. Roy said volunteers would load up Pugh’s vehicle, because he was unable to pick it up himself.
Pugh’s daughter said he was delivering meals to the needy when the crash occurred.
“He really had a heart for those people who he was helping out,” Roy said. “He just felt the calling to do it. What he did share with me was that those folks who he was helping out did not have a way to get around and couldn’t have gotten into town to get it themselves.”
Roy and the Rev. Brandan Thomas, mission executive director, were unsure exactly how many years Pugh volunteered at the mission, but said he’d done it for decades.
“The guys at the mission just loved him to death,” Thomas said. “Finding individuals to stick it out that long is really tough because it can be a thankless job.”