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Two-car crash kills woman, injures two

August 23, 2002|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

An 84-year-old Sabillasville, Md., woman was killed Thursday afternoon when the car in which she was riding was hit head-on by a station wagon on Md. 64, Maryland State Police said.

Mary Jane Bittner, of Harbaugh Valley Road, was pronounced dead at the scene of the 1:50 p.m. accident, police said.

Bittner was a passenger in a 1991 Buick Skylark driven by Grace Ann Best, 61, of another address on Harbaugh Valley Road in Sabillasville, police said.

Best was flown to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore by the state police medevac helicopter based in Frederick, Md. Her condition Thursday night was critical, a nursing supervisor said.

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The driver of the 1985 Pontiac 6000LE station wagon was Donald Lee Curfman, 64, of the 21500 block of Jefferson Boulevard, Smithsburg, police said. He was flown to Baltimore by the state police medevac helicopter based in Cumberland, Md.

Curfman's condition Thursday night was serious, a nursing supervisor said.

"I heard the crash and I went outside," said Vernon Munson, of 22247 Jefferson Boulevard.

Munson said he started up toward the crash site, as did a motorist he saw backing down the highway.

Later Munson said he couldn't remember an accident as serious as this one near his home. "It's a terrible thing," Munson said.

Witnesses alleged to Trooper 1st Class Charles Stanford that Curfman's eastbound vehicle had been weaving back and forth across Md. 64 for several miles prior to the crash.

As the vehicle approached Old Georgetown Road, it crossed the center line and drove completely onto the opposite shoulder of the road, Stanford said.

"The gray car (Best's Buick) tried to avoid the collision but was hit head-on," Stanford said at the scene after the accident.

Stanford said witnesses said Best steered her car to the left to avoid a collision but the other car swerved back into the eastbound lane.

All three were trapped in the vehicles and had to be removed by personnel from the Smithsburg Volunteer Fire Co. with assistance from Community Rescue Service and the Mount Aetna Fire Co.

Personnel from Smithsburg Emergency Medical Services Inc. treated Best and Curfman at the scene as they awaited transport to Baltimore.

Stanford said Best and Bittner were both wearing their seat belts. Curfman was unrestrained, Stanford said.

Since the accident resulted in a death, Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Steve Kessell responded to the scene.

Stanford and Cpl. Richard Poffenberger, a collision reconstructionist, were continuing their investigation of the crash.

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