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Fairplay-area woman dies in crash

November 19, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

ELLICOTT CITY, MD. - An ambulance driver from the Fairplay area was killed and three other Washington County residents inside the ambulance were seriously injured in an accident Thursday afternoon on Interstate 70 in Howard County, Md.

The Mid-Maryland Medical Transport ambulance was taking a pregnant woman from Washington County Hospital to a medical center in Baltimore when the crash occurred at 12:40 p.m. on I-70 west of St. John's Lane in Howard County, according to Maryland State Police.

Police said the ambulance driver, Jeanette M. Roseberry, 27, of the 18000 block of Herr Lane, west of Boonsboro, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.

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Three others inside the ambulance were injured. Police identified the injured as patient Maria M. Williams, 22, of the 400 block of Sumans Avenue in Hagerstown; ambulance attendant John H. Bagley Jr., 34, of the 500 block of Church Street in Hagerstown; and nurse Robin A. Banfe, 31, of the 11000 block of Crystal Falls Drive in Smithsburg.

Williams and Banfe were listed in critical condition, and Bagley was listed in serious condition at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore late Thursday, a spokeswoman there said.

Police said Roseberry was driving a 2001 Ford ambulance east on I-70 when it traveled through the center grass median and collided with a flatbed tractor-trailer in the westbound lanes of the interstate. Banfe, a nurse riding in the back of the Mid-Maryland Medical Transport ambulance, was thrown from the ambulance upon impact.

In an apparent attempt to avoid the collision, the driver of the tractor-trailer, Charles R. Canter of Baltimore, swerved the truck and side-swiped a box truck driven by Jack L. Clark of Salisbury, Pa., police said.

Neither Clark nor Canter were seriously injured, police said.

"They were OK for the most part. They were just shaken up more than anything," Maryland State Police Sgt. Thornnie Rouse said.

After the accident, a load of lumber from the tractor-trailer was strewn across the road. Both sides of I-70 were closed for about an hour, police said. Both eastbound lanes were opened by 2:30 p.m. but the westbound lanes remained closed until about 4:20 p.m.

Police said the crash still was being investigated Thursday evening, and no charges were filed.

Police said the ambulance was en route from Washington County Hospital to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore at the time of the wreck.

Washington County Hospital Spokeswoman Maureen Theriault said Mid-Maryland Medical Transport has had a contract with the hospital for nearly four years.

"To my knowledge, this is the first serious incident," she said regarding the Hagerstown-based transport company.

Roseberry was a member of the Williamsport Volunteer Ambulance Service Inc., said Deputy Chief Tom Anderson. Anderson said Roseberry had been a certified emergency medical technician with the volunteer service for at least five years.

"She was a very good volunteer, very dedicated," Anderson said. "She was a family woman."

Bagley also is a volunteer with Williamsport Volunteer Ambulance Service, said Eloise Healy, the ambulance service's administrator.

"We are extremely upset about it," Healy said.

Anderson said most members of the service had not been informed of the accident, and even officials had not received confirmation of her death by Thursday evening.

Howard County Fire and Rescue Department Public Information Officer William Mould said violent accidents such as the one Thursday are common in the area.

"It's something our emergency responders do see," Mould said. "There's a lot of accidents and fatalities along (Interstate) 70 in Howard County. I'm sure other counties have the same situation Howard County does."

Staff writer Gregory T. Simmons contributed to this story.

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