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Three die on area roads

June 13, 2004|By RICHARD F. BELISLE

Three people were killed in two separate accidents Saturday morning in the Tri-State area, according to local police officials.

In an accident in Martinsburg, W.Va., a northbound tractor-trailer crossed the median at Exit 12 on Interstate 81 Saturday morning and struck a southbound tractor-trailer head-on causing a huge fireball, a Berkeley County Sheriff's Department spokesman said.

At least two people were killed in the 8:15 a.m. crash, but neither victim was identified as of press time, Deputy W.A. Johnson said.

In a second accident, an 81-year-old Harpers Ferry, W.Va., man was pronounced dead at Washington County Hospital Saturday morning following a two-vehicle accident at the intersection of U.S. 340 and Valley Road, Maryland State Police said.

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The victim was identified as Harvey Crawford Allnutt of Rt. 1, Box 719.

In the I-81 accident, Johnson said police were relying on knowledge of the crash from a tractor-trailer driver who was following the southbound rig and saw what happened.

"All we know at this time is that there are two individuals," Johnson said. "We can't even say if they were the drivers. We assume they were."

The witness told police that the northbound truck, for some unknown reason, crossed the median at the bridge over W.Va. 45 and ran head-on into the southbound vehicle, causing an instantaneous explosion. Black smoke from the accident could be seen from far away.

The witness said he slammed on his brakes and managed to skid to a stop before hitting the trucks, police said.

That section of I-81 is under construction and is lined with concrete median barriers, Johnson said. The truck somehow managed to miss the barriers and crossed over between a small open area at the bridge, he said.

Traffic was backed up in both lanes for up to seven miles. Vehicles were directed off the interstate at the Exit 12 off ramp and allowed to get back on past the crash site on the on ramp.

Drivers in both directions were trying to avoid the tie-up by getting off the highway at intersections north and south of Exit 12 and were causing massive jams there too, Johnson said.

"It's a mess," he said.

In the Maryland accident, the driver of the second vehicle, a 2002 Nissan Frontier pickup truck, was Marvin Moises Cabrera, 18, of 181 Ranson Estates Circle in Ranson, W.Va.

Cabrera, two passengers in his truck, Jorge Moises Carbrera of Ranson and Regoberto Antonia Granado of Ranson, and Andrew Jackson Fitts of Harpers Ferry, a passenger in Allnutt's 2001 Chrysler van, were treated at Frederick Memorial Hospital and later released, police said.

According to police, the 7:12 a.m. accident occurred when Allnutt attempted to pull out of Valley Road onto U.S. 340 when he was struck broadside by Marvin Carbrera's pickup.

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