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Fire policeman killed at scene of auto crash

May 04, 1998|By LISA GRAYBEAL

Two people were killed at the scene of a vehicle accident Saturday night on Interstate 81 south of U.S. 11, including a Washington County fire policeman who was directing traffic, according to Maryland State Police.

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Joseph Kroboth Jr., 59, of 17506 York Road, a fire police captain assigned to The Volunteer Fire Company of Halfway, was killed shortly before midnight Saturday when he stepped into the fast lane of northbound I-81 into the path of a 1990 Chevrolet C1500 pickup truck driven by John Aaron Cuddy III, 20, of 445 Bowie Drive, Falling Waters, W.Va., police said.

Kroboth was assisting with traffic control on the interstate across from the accident, where traffic had stopped on the shoulder as drivers were watching the activity at the scene, police said.

Maryland State Police Trooper Doug Bittinger and Kroboth were attempting to remove the traffic from the shoulder using flashlights equipped with orange safety wands, police said.

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Kroboth, who was wearing a reflective vest, was knocked 50 feet up the highway by the impact, police said. He died of massive head and chest trauma, police said.

Kroboth had responded to the 11:15 p.m. accident on I-81 that killed Assia Uddin, 27, of 1521 Hickory Valley Road, Chattanooga, Tenn., police said.

Her 2-year-old son, Ayaz Uddin, was listed in critical condition Sunday night in the pediatric intensive care unit of Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he was flown by Maryland State Police helicopter, police said.

They were passengers in a 1992 Infinity driven by Faisal Saeed, 23, of 6800 McCutcheon Rd., Chattanooga, police said. The car was heading south on I-81 at high speed when it swerved to avoid another vehicle and went out of control, skidding sideways off the right side of the road and into a tree, police said.

The front-seat passenger, Syed Uddin, 35, of 1521 Hickory Valley Rd., Chattanooga, was trapped in the car with his wife and 2-year-old son, who were in the back seat and were not wearing seat belts, police said.

Syed Uddin and Saeed suffered minor injuries, police said. They were wearing their seat belts, police said.

Saeed was charged with negligent driving, police said.

Kroboth was a 39-year veteran of the Halfway fire department, where he formerly served as lieutenant and was serving on the board of trustees. He was also a member of the Antietam Fire Company.

His son, Joseph Kroboth III, is fire chief at Halfway.

Kroboth is the third member of the Halfway fire department to die in the past four days, said Gregory I. Snook, president of the Washington County Commissioners. He served as spokesman for the department on Sunday.

Joseph W. McDaniel, 69, of Hagerstown, died Saturday, and Chester "Chet" Hessler, 76, of Williamsport, died Thursday.

Both died of natural causes, Snook said.

"They were all fine fellows who dedicated a lot of time," Snook said.

Neighboring fire and ambulance services are covering for the department at Halfway, he said.

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