Pa. wreck kills two

August 30, 1999|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A snapped tree limb may have contributed to a Monday afternoon accident that killed two men in the collision of a compact car and a tractor-trailer on Molly Pitcher Highway.

William D. Freshman, 53, of 525 Hood St., Chambersburg, was pronounced dead at the scene at 4:20 p.m. by Franklin County Chief Deputy Coroner Jeffrey R. Conner. Freshman was the passenger in the car.

The driver of the car, Melvin L. Welsh, 42, of Chambersburg, was taken by Life Lion helicopter to York (Pa.) Hospital where he later died, according to Conner.

Franklin Volunteer Fire Co. Chief Jeffrey Clopper said the driver of the truck, Allen Earl Towne, 36, of Waynesboro, was uninjured, but he was taken to Chambersburg Hospital to be checked out.


The accident happened just south of Kriner Road in Guilford Township at about 3:50 p.m., when a southbound Freightliner tractor-trailer collided with a northbound 1980s Ford Festiva, police said. Just north of the accident scene a large limb that had snapped from the base of a tree was leaning over the southbound lane, held up by a utility line.

Skidmarks from the NFI Interactive Logistics truck began in the northbound lane and went into the center turn lane. The truck and car came to rest in the southbound lane near the entrance to the former Roselawn Motel at 2347 Molly Pitcher Highway.

According to the state police report, the truck moved into the center and northbound lanes to avoid hitting the limb, then turned back toward the southbound lane.

The report said Welsh swerved into the southbound lane to avoid the truck, but the two collided.

The limb came from a tree on a property at 2317 Molly Pitcher Highway. The woman who lived there would not give her name, but said a driver for a tree service stopped and told her about the limb at about 3:20 p.m.

"As soon as I found out about it I got on the phone and got busy," the woman said. She said she called a utility company to have the limb removed, but a crew did not arrive until after the crash.

Southbound traffic was detoured onto Orchard Drive and northbound traffic onto Loop Road while a state police accident reconstruction team was called in and the scene was cleared.

Molly Pitcher Highway was reopened at about 8 p.m., according to a 911 dispatcher.

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