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Couple has warned state Foxville Road curve unsafe

September 25, 2000

Couple has warned state Foxville Road curve unsafe



By LAURA ERNDE / Staff Writer

see also: Bus crash shakes up Smithsburg students

SMITHSBURG - Kevin and Tammy Whisner say they have long complained about the dangerous curve in front of their house where Monday's school bus accident took place.

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They said they have their doubts that even that accident will convince the Maryland State Highway Administration to do anything more to improve the safety of the winding and steep Foxville Road, which is Md. 77.

"I hope something comes out of it, but I don't know. We've had petitions up before about that turn and nothing ever happened," Kevin Whisner said.

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A year ago, the state installed signs with beacon lights to warn drivers to slow down to 25 mph into the curve, said State Highway spokeswoman Lora Rakowski.

Traffic engineers will investigate again to see if there's anything else they can do to improve safety on the mountain road.

"We're very concerned about this incident," she said.

Trooper 1st Class Douglas Bird confirmed that the curve has been a frequent accident spot.

Tammy Whisner, 39, took photos to document Monday's accident, which happened about 8:25 a.m. in front of her house at 23239 Foxville Road.

"We've had one accident after another," she said.

Last summer, a motorcyclist from Rockville, Md., died after hitting the guardrail.

Neighbor Donna Pitsnogle, 30, said every time it rains there are two or three accidents there.

"If they meet another vehicle, it's the end," she said.

On Monday, Christina Ann Wachsmuth was driving a school bus carrying Smithsburg secondary students to school on the slick road when the bus began to skid and sideswiped a dump truck. Neither driver was charged by police.

Self-employed dump truck driver James A. Bowers, 24, of Chewsville, said he drives the winding road nearly every day so he knew to slow down before the curve.

Kevin Whisner speculated that the dump truck may have prevented the bus from a worse fate - going over the steep embankment.

Neighbors said they have suggested several solutions to the problem, including widening the road around the curve and using a rougher paving material that wouldn't be as slippery in the rain. Whisner said he has noticed more rain-related accidents since the road was paved about four years ago.

Rakowski was unable to find out Monday whether those options are being considered.

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