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Multi-vehicle crash on U.S. 340 sends six people to hospitals

October 21, 2003|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

SANDY HOOK - Six people were hospitalized and traffic was stalled for hours Monday afternoon following a chain-reaction collision involving six cars and a tractor-trailer on the U.S. 340 bridge crossing into Washington County, a Maryland State Police spokesman said.

The collision occurred about 4:35 p.m. when a westbound tractor-trailer driven by Charles Green, 64, of 1175 Bridges Drive in Forest City, N.C., ran into a Nissan Pathfinder, which was stopped in westbound traffic in the middle of the bridge, Trooper 1st Class David Matthews said.

Green said he saw the traffic in front of him, but did not realize it was stopped when he hit the Pathfinder, Matthews said.

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"He never hit his brakes," Matthews said.

The impact of the crash forced the Pathfinder into a Ford Taurus, which crossed the eastbound lane and struck a concrete barrier along the edge of the road, Matthews said.

The Ford Taurus was struck broadside by an eastbound Ford F-350 truck, which was hauling timber, Matthews said.

When the Ford Taurus was pushed into the concrete wall, it also struck a Honda Accord in front of it, causing the Accord to be pushed into the eastbound lane, Matthews said. When the Accord was pushed into the eastbound lane, it sideswiped a Volvo station wagon and another Honda Accord ahead of it, Matthews said.

The driver of the Ford Taurus, Annie Jenkins, 83, of Harpers Ferry, W.Va., suffered the most serious injuries, Matthews said. Jenkins was trapped in the wreckage and rescue crews had to cut off the top of the car to free her, Matthews said.

Maryland State Police Trooper 3, a medical helicopter, landed at the scene and transported Jenkins to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Unit in Baltimore, Matthews said.

Jenkins was listed in serious but stable condition, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

Green, who was not injured, was cited for negligent operation of a motor vehicle, Matthews said.

Matthews said he still was sorting out details of the crash Monday night and could not provide names of other people involved in the crash. He said the five other people besides Jenkins who were hospitalized did not have serious injuries.

A 4-year-old boy who was a passenger in the Pathfinder suffered a broken leg and was taken to Jefferson Memorial Hospital in Ranson, W.Va., Matthews said. A female in the vehicle, who was not seriously injured, also was taken to Jefferson Memorial, Matthews said.

Two men who were riding in the F-350 pickup truck were transported to Jefferson Memorial, Matthews said.

The crash shut down both lanes of U.S. 340 and backed up traffic in both directions for miles. Some motorists were stopped in traffic for about 21/2 hours while rescue crews worked at the scene.

Matthews said he did not know how fast the tractor-trailer was traveling.

Matthews said a witness to the crash told him that traffic often backs up on the bridge during rush hour when a traffic light turns red just west of the bridge.

The witness suggested that the traffic light should be switched to a flashing yellow mode during rush hour so traffic would not back up on the bridge, Matthews said.

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