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Two N.Y. men die in car accident

March 19, 2003

marlob@herald-mail.com
gregs@herald-mail.com

Problems verifying the identities of two New York men who died in Tuesday morning's single-vehicle crash on South Potomac Street have delayed the release of their names, Hagerstown City Police said late Tuesday.

"There were some questions about their identification," said Sgt. Mark Renner. "I've taken some calls from possible relatives and I've directed them to call the Maryland State Medical Examiner's Office in Baltimore."

The two were passengers in a stolen red Pontiac Bonneville driven by Clifford Cochran, 19, of 277 W. 127th St., Apt. 2C, in New York City, police said.

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Cochran has been charged with two counts of manslaughter by motor vehicle.

Conviction on that charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine on each count. He also is charged with reckless and negligent driving and driving while suspended.

Cochran was being held Tuesday on $250,000 bond at the Washington County Detention Center, police said.

Another passenger in the car, Moses Heckstall, 21, of New York City, was charged with motor vehicle theft Tuesday, police said. Heckstall was being held on $25,000 bond at the jail.

At 2:21 a.m. Tuesday, Officer Tom Langston was monitoring traffic from the parking lot of Bester Elementary School in the 600 block of South Potomac Street when the car carrying the four men went past at about 80 mph, Sgt. George Knight said.

The driver lost control of the car and it began to skid, police said. The passenger side of the Pontiac hit an empty GMC Envoy, which was parked on the east side of South Potomac Street along Rose Hill Cemetery about 250 feet south of Bester Elementary, police said.

Cochran and Heckstall were treated at Washington County Hospital and released, police said.

The car was found to have been stolen from a Frederick Street home. The owner, who left the keys in the car, didn't know the car was missing until he was contacted by police.

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