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Bluefish member hurt in accident

January 20, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

A 30-year veteran of the Hagerstown music scene was listed in critical condition at Washington County Hospital Monday evening, more than 32 hours after he was injured in a car crash near Smithsburg.

Jason Chalfont, of the Hagerstown-based Rudy and the Bluefish, was on his way home from a show the band played in Virginia on Saturday. He waited to make the trip Sunday because he thought it would be safer to drive home during the day, a band mate said Monday.

Chalfont, a Waynesboro, Pa., native, was listed in critical condition at Washington County Hospital Monday evening, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Rudy and the Bluefish frontman Tom Borum said Chalfont was injured in a crash on Md. 64 in Smithsburg Sunday afternoon. Chalfont, older brother of former Kix drummer Jimmy Chalfont, spent the night in Leesburg, Va. The blues band played a show Saturday evening at the Downtown Saloon.

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"He was on his way home to Waynesboro," Borum said. "He was only 6 miles from his house."

Maryland State Police officers on duty Monday said they had no knowledge of the incident, and a report on the crash had not been filed by Monday evening. Police said Sunday there were "no serious injuries" in any of the many car crashes on icy roads in the area.

A Washington County 911 Center dispatcher said the Md. 64 crash occurred at 12:43 p.m. The dispatcher said the vehicle left the icy roadway and crashed into a ditch, and the driver, whom he did not name, had head injuries. The driver, who had to be cut out of the car, was classified as a "priority-one patient," meaning he had very serious injuries, the dispatcher said.

Chalfont, who has played music in the Hagerstown area for three decades in bands including Kartune City and The Shift, is regarded as one of the area's finest guitar players, according to several area musicians.

Rudy and the Bluefish drummer Mike Holtzman said the intensive-care waiting room was packed with friends, family and area musicians, many of whom have jammed with him.

"That's one thing about the musicians in this area, if something happens to one, they all pull together," Holtzman said. "I can't even tell you how many musicians were there (at the hospital) tonight. And not for five minutes either, they were there for a long time."

Holtzman said many of the Bluefish band members spend the night in Leesburg when they play there because of safety concerns about driving late in the evening. He said Chalfont is the most safety-conscious member of the group.

"He's not known to drive fast," he said. "Jason's the kind of guy that when he's driving 60 (mph), you have to beg him to go 65."

Holtzman said the band's schedule, which included two shows in Hagerstown in the next month, is on hold. Chalfont's health is the only thing that matters to his band mates right now, he said.

"The least of my worries right now is the band dates," Holtzman said.

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