Four injured in wrecks

August 20, 2000

Four injured in wrecks


At least four people received serious injuries following four roadway accidents Sunday.

Maryland State Police and rescue authorities reported three accidents, two involving chain-reaction collisions. The fourth involved a collision between a motorcycle and a car in Smithsburg.

In the Smithsburg collision, a 49-year-old Clear Spring woman was listed in critical condition at press time following the 4:30 p.m. wreck Sunday at the intersection of Fruit Tree Drive and Md. 64 in Smithsburg, Maryland State Police said.

Police said two 16-year-old girls from Smithsburg were traveling in a Dodge Stratus on Water Street toward Fruit Tree Drive when they collided with a Honda Aspencade motorcycle. The motorcycle was driven by Charles Eichelberger, 50 of Clear Spring. Vickie Eichelberger 49, of Clear Spring was his passenger.


When Smithsburg rescue crews arrived, they found the riders each lying near the motorcycle. The vehicle was mangled after the 4:30 p.m. crash, said Smithsburg Fire Department Captain Chris Rohrer. The young women inside the Dodge were able to get out of their car and were sitting on the guardrail, he said. The two were treated and released at Washington County Hospital.

Chunks of broken metal littered the area near the collision and a pair of scratched sunglasses was near the motorcycle's front tire.

The Eichelberger's were taken to the Washington County Hospital.

Vickie Eichelberger was listed in critical condition and Charles Eichelberger was in fair condition Sunday evening, a supervisor said.

The Dodge Stratus - which landed in a 20-foot ditch - caught on fire. Additionally, about 10 feet of brush surrounding the Dodge was blackened from the fire, said Rohrer. The vehicle was declared a total loss.

The Dodge Stratus remained in the ditch while a trooper with the Maryland State Police investigated the accident Sunday.

The vehicle's hood, which was discolored by the fire, was partially raised.

The driver's side door was open and the front of the car was heavily damaged, police said.

Occasionally a vehicle will catch fire in an accident but usually the fire is quickly extinguished, Rohrer said.

"Very seldom" do they totally destroy a vehicle, said Rohrer.

Rescuers from Community Rescue Service also were at the scene.

In another Sunday accident - also at 4:30 p.m. - two people were injured in a multiple-vehicle collision on I-70 near Halfway when items inside their vehicle struck them on the back of the head Sunday evening, said Alan Matheny, spokesman for the Volunteer Fire Co. of Halfway.

Matheny said when rescue crews arrived at the scene near Halfway, they found four vehicles had rear-ended each other at 4:36 p.m.

A man and a women from one vehicle were taken to the Washington County Hospital with head injuries.

The woman was in serious but stable condition and the man had minor injuries, Matheny said. The authorities did not release names.

In yet another I-70 accident in Hagerstown, a car lost control and crossed over the median into the westbound lanes, according to state police Sgt. D.W. Kloos.

Further details on that accident were unavailable at presstime.

Kloos said drivers on the interstate Sunday were having difficulty adapting to new traffic patterns created by road construction.

In some areas of Interstate 70 bridges are being repaired and the highway has been reduced to one lane, he said.

He said the typically high weekend traffic is encountering backups and driving too fast to stop to avoid collisions.

"People want to drive 90 in a 65 mile zone," he said.

He said the accidents could be prevented if "people would slow down and decided to arrive 10 minutes later."

Maryland State Highway Administration spokeswoman Valerie Burnette Edgar said she was not aware of recent accidents on the interstate and that the administration works with the state police in devising road construction plans.

"If they are noticing something we can modify" arrangements, said Burnette Edgar.

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