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Police report light crash load

January 27, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL and PEPPER BALLARD

shappell@herald-mail.com
pepperb@herald-mail.com

Despite snowy conditions throughout the Washington County area Monday, police said they had a normal to slow day of accidents.

However, a morning crash on eastbound Interstate 70 left a New York man with life-threatening injuries, police said.

Cpl. James Grimm of the Washington County Sheriff's Department said deputies investigated two crashes through early Monday evening, both minor. One of the accidents was on Leitersburg Pike near the Knights of Columbus and there was a hit-and-run property damage accident on Cumberland and Mill streets in Clear Spring.

"Actually, it hasn't been as bad as you'd think it would be," Grimm said.

Grimm speculated that the low number of accidents probably had a lot to do with the efforts of road crews and some careful driving.

"They were warned about it, so it was not a surprise to people," Grimm said. "It's hard to say. You give it another hour or two, there could be five back to back."

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Maryland State Police fielded the most serious accident of the day, just after 11 a.m. on eastbound Interstate 70 near Interstate 81.

Maryland State Police Trooper 1st Class Phil Martin said the driver of a green 2001 Chevrolet Monte Carlo pulled off a ramp onto eastbound I-70, lost control and skidded into a 2004 Mack tractor-trailer that had just passed the I-81 interchange.

The car, with its driver's side door bowed in from the impact, was wedged on the snowbanks of the median as the truck idled a few yards down the slush-covered road. The truck's front bumper was smashed.

The driver of the Chevrolet, Justin James Everett, 21, of Ashland Avenue in Niagara Falls, N.Y., was in the emergency room at Washington County Hospital Monday evening. A condition was not available, a hospital spokeswoman said.

A passenger, Dwyer E. Conklin, 21, of Kirkville Road in East Syracuse, N.Y., was listed in critical condition, a hospital spokeswoman said Monday evening.

Police said the men in the car both were Marines from Camp Lejeune, N.C.

The truck was driven by Charles R. Burchel Sr., 58, of State Road in Salem, Ind. He was not injured, police said.

It was one of 16 accidents fielded by troopers between midnight and 7:30 p.m. Monday, state police Sgt. Kevin Lewis said. He said the other accidents were minor, most involving vehicles sliding off roads or into guardrails.

There were no ambulance transports involved with those accidents, Lewis said.

Lewis said the trouble sports were at overpasses, intersections and exit ramps. He said Monday's accident total was typical for the conditions.

"Most of them are just caused by people driving faster than they should," he said.

Hagerstown Police Department Sgt. Tim Hurd said there were several minor crashes early in the day, though he could not say how many. Hurd said there was only one accident investigated by city officers between 4 and 8 p.m.

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