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Man charged in August crash

Donald Lee Curfman of Smithsburg faces multiple charges in connection with a two-car accident that caused the deaths of two wome

Donald Lee Curfman of Smithsburg faces multiple charges in connection with a two-car accident that caused the deaths of two wome

November 05, 2002|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

A Smithsburg man has been charged in an August accident near Smithsburg in which two women died.

Donald Lee Curfman, 64, of 212 W. Water St., Smithsburg, was served with an arrest warrant Monday. He was released from custody after posting a $100,000 bond, said Trooper 1st Class Charles Stanford of the Maryland State Police.

The warrant was issued after a Washington County grand jury returned indictments against Curfman in October. Curfman was charged in the indictments with two counts each of manslaughter by motor vehicle; homicide by motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol; homicide by motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol; and driving under the influence of alcohol.

Curfman also faces one count each of driving while impaired, reckless driving, negligent driving and failure to drive right of center.

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Two Sabillasville, Md., women died Aug. 22 after the car in which they were riding was struck by a station wagon driven by Curfman on Md. 64, police said.

Mary Jane Bittner, 84, of Harbaugh Valley Road, was pronounced dead at the scene of the 1:50 p.m. accident, police said.

Grace Ann Best, 61, also of Harbaugh Valley Road, died that night at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center, police said.

Best was driving a 1991 Buick Skylark west on Md. 64, taking Bittner to a doctor's appointment in Hagerstown.

Curfman was the driver of a 1985 Pontiac 6000LE station wagon, police said. He was flown to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore for treatment of his injuries.

Stanford had said witnesses told him 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 went onto the opposite shoulder of the road, he alleged.

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

A conviction on all charges could carry a punishment of nearly 40 years in prison.

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