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Two die in crash

The father and step-mother of a Hagerstown City Police officer were killed Sunday when their car missed a curve, went off the ri

The father and step-mother of a Hagerstown City Police officer were killed Sunday when their car missed a curve, went off the ri

December 02, 2002|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - The father and stepmother of a Hagerstown City Police officer were killed early Sunday in a single-vehicle accident on Md. 63 just north of Pinehill Drive.

Maryland State Police said Larry Wayne Webster Sr., 58, of 10367 Shives Lane, Upper Strasburg, Pa., was the driver of a 2001 Hyundai Accent that was northbound on Md. 63 at 12:10 a.m. Sunday when the vehicle missed a curve, went off the right side of the road, struck a guardrail and overturned against a utility pole.

Webster and his passenger, Linda Darlene Webster, 44, of the same address, were killed on impact, police said.

While the airbags did deploy, neither was wearing a seat belt, police said.

Hagerstown City Police confirmed Sunday afternoon that Larry Webster is the father of Officer Todd Webster. Linda Webster was the officer's stepmother, police said.

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Chief Arthur Smith said he learned of the deaths when he returned to Hagerstown Sunday after a brief vacation. He said he would be getting in touch with Todd Webster as soon as possible.

In the meantime, police all around Washington County are trying to figure out why 2002 has been such a deadly year on the highways.

"With the two killed early Sunday, that brings to 25 the number killed so far this year," said Maryland State Police Cpl. R.W. Poffenberger. "Five of those were in this past week."

A New Jersey man died of his injuries a day after a Nov. 23 accident on Interstate 81, where he was cut off by a truck that left the scene.

A Clear Spring woman and a Pennsylvania man were killed Nov. 24 after their vehicles collided head-on in Cearfoss.

A trained accident reconstructionist, Poffenberger said he was asked by his barrack commander, Lt. Greg Johnston, to write a report on the high number of deaths this year on the county's highways.

"The locations of the accidents were scattered all over the county so there was no link there," Poffenberger said.

But two factors did keep cropping up in most of the 2002 fatal accidents, Poffenberger said.

"Drivers aren't paying attention and they are not wearing their seat belts in many instances," he said.

Cpl. Daryl Sanders of the Washington County Sheriff's Department echoed that opinion, adding that he believes drivers are too aggressive and too careless these days.

"The day of the courteous driver seems to be over," Sanders said. "People are in too much of a hurry to get nowhere."

Washington County had 10 fatalities in motor vehicle accidents in 2001, according to figures provided by Maryland State Police.

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