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One death mars holiday weekend

May 28, 1998|By BRENDAN KIRBY

Maryland State Police at the Hagerstown barracks wrote 158 speeding tickets and charged four motorists with drunken driving over the holiday weekend.

But the statistic that most pleases Lt. Donnie Knott is the number of fatal accidents: zero.

Knott, commander of the Hagerstown barracks, said one person died during the Memorial Day weekend last year.

A Hagerstown man was killed early Saturday in a collision with a tour bus on Interstate 81 near Marlowe, W.Va. Ten people were hurt in the crash.

The Berkeley County Sheriff's Department identified the dead man as Bart Jason Wingerd, 27, an area high school and college baseball standout.

The only serious accident in Washington County this year involved a girl on bicycle. She remains in critical condition.

"It would have been a little nicer if we hadn't had that. But after that, things went fairly well," Knott said.

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State police officers in Frederick County, Md., also reported no road deaths between last Friday and Monday. Troopers issued 96 speeding citations and 38 seat belt citations, according to the state police headquarters in Pikesville, Md.

In Washington County, troopers wrote 137 seat belt tickets and issued another 54 warnings.

Knott said police had a beefed up presence over the weekend through a grant from the Washington County Health Department and a statewide initiative to put troopers with administrative duties on the road.

Knott said members of the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement and Automotive Safety Enforcement units patrolled the roads over the weekend. He said that provided an additional nine troopers in the county.

Knott said reducing speeding and encouraging motorists to buckle up are among his top priorities.

"That is a big enforcement effort," he said. "The troopers were given their marching orders on that."

Knott said the efforts carry over to routine patrols. He said almost twice as many citations have been issued by troopers from the barrack as this time last year.

Part of the reason for that is that the barrack has been at full strength all year. But part of it is do to aggressive enforcement, Knott said.

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