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Large procession expected for sailor's funeral

October 19, 2000

Large procession expected for sailor's funeral



By SCOTT BUTKI / Staff Writer


The body of Craig Wibberley of Williamsport arrived in his home county Thursday, in time for visitation today and funeral services Saturday.

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The services for Wibberley, 19, may draw as many as 500 to 1,000 people, including the lieutenant governor and U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., and other federal officials. The procession is expected to cause some traffic problems.

Wibberley was one of 17 sailors killed in the USS Cole explosion last week in the port of Aden in Yemen.

His body arrived at the Gerald N. Minnich Funeral Home Thursday morning, from Dover, Del. The funeral home is handling arrangements. State police escorted the body from Dover to Hagerstown.

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The family chose to have him buried at St. Mark's Episcopal Church Cemetery at Lappans Crossroads although he could have been buried at Arlington National Cemetery, said Washington County Sheriff Charles Mades.

Visitation for Wibberley is from 6 to 8 p.m. today at St. John's Episcopal Church.

Funeral services will be at noon Saturday at St. John's Episcopal Church, 101 S. Prospect St. in Hagerstown. Wibberley will be buried later that day at St. Mark's with Navy officials serving as pallbearers.

Funeral information is not available for Patrick Roy, 19, of Keedysville, who also was on the USS Cole.

Roy's body is listed by the Navy as missing but presumed dead. Eight bodies were recovered from the wreckage this week but Roy's has not been identified as one of those found, said family friend Elliott Haines.

The identification of those found this week will not begin until the bodies arrive in Dover, a Navy spokesman said Thursday. The earliest the Navy can confirm whether one of the bodies is Roy's will be today, a spokesman said.

The Roy and Wibberley families attended Wednesday's memorial service in Norfolk, Va., for the sailors killed on the USS Cole. President Clinton met with both families. Bartlett also attended the service.

There will be signs on U.S. 40 directing drivers to the church and city police will help people find places to park near the church, said State Highway Administration spokeswoman Lora Rakowski.

As the procession moves from Hagerstown to Lappans Crossroad drivers may want to plan detours or avoid the area altogether from 2-4 p.m. because some roads will be closed, she said.

Signs went up on 65 and 68 Thursday to warn people of the traffic inconvenience, she said.

Interstate 70 ramps onto Md. 65 will be closed for about 20 minutes around 2 p.m. during the procession, Rakowski said.

Several intersections with 65 will be manned by police during the procession, she said. Those intersections are at Oak Ridge Drive, Prime Outlets, Col. Henry K. Douglas Drive, College Road, Roxbury Road and Md. 68, she said.

68 will be closed from 65 to Breathedville Road, she said. The suggested detour is from 68 to Manor Church Road to Breathedville Road, she said.

For several hours Saturday, Walnut Street will be closed from City Park Circle to Antietam Street, Mades said. Antietam Street will be closed from Summit Avenue to Walnut Street, Mades said.

Parking on Prospect and South Prospect from Washington to Baltimore Streets will also be restricted for several hours to those attending the services, he said.

Walnut and South Prospect residents received written notification Thursday that parking, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, will be restricted to those attending the services.

"We know this will be an inconvenience for the persons who live in this area. However, your cooperation will allow people to pay their respects to this fallen sailor and to help his family through this time of grief," Hagerstown Police Captain Charles R. Summers wrote the residents.

There will be some overflow parking available at St. Mary's Catholic Church but that lot is intended for those attending the services but not the burial, he said.

The funeral procession will travel from St. John's Episcopal Church south on Walnut Street to Park Circle and then south on Virginia Avenue. From Virginia Avenue it will turn left on Wilson Boulevard to South Potomac Street (Md. 65) to Lappans Crossroads, where it will turn left to St. Mark's Episcopal Church.

Minnich is encouraging people to show their support by parking along the procession route and turning on their car headlights. They can also wave or hold U.S. flags as the procession goes by, he said

To reduce traffic, Williamsport residents are being asked to carpool by meeting and parking at Williamsport High School, Mades said.

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