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Man dies in accident on birthday

July 25, 2005|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

HAGERSTOWN

andrews@herald-mail.com

Jack Wolfe's 62nd birthday present to himself was a motorcycle ride in Tennessee on a popular strip known as "The Dragon."

But something went wrong. Wolfe, of Hagerstown, died after his 2004 Buell motorcycle went off the road Friday - his birthday - as it went around one of the Dragon's many curves.

His wife, Connie, said Sunday that his front tire apparently went off the right edge of the road and he overcorrected, losing control of the motorcycle.

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An account of the accident in Saturday's Daily Times of Maryville, Tenn., says Wolfe's motorcycle went about 100 feet down a steep embankment and hit a tree.

It took almost an hour for rescuers to reach Wolfe and bring him back to the road, the Daily Times story says. The newspaper reported that Wolfe apparently died as a helicopter was flying him to The University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol did not return a call for comment Sunday.

Connie Wolfe said the Dragon, on U.S. 129, is a motorcycling attraction that draws people from long distances. It's in the Great Smoky Mountains, where Tennessee and North Carolina meet, she said.

The 11-mile stretch is said to have far more than 100 turns, depending on the source. The Daily Times story put the number at 318.

Connie Wolfe said her husband knew that someone was killed in a motorcycle accident on the Dragon on Thursday, so he and a friend from California planned to keep their speed down on Friday.

Jack Wolfe went off the road around mile marker 8, two miles from the site of the previous day's fatal accident, the Daily Times story says.

The Knoxville News-Sentinel's KnoxNews Web site reported that Wolfe was wearing a helmet.

Connie Wolfe said motorcycle riding was one of her husband's varied interests.

He was a master falconer, someone who trains falcons to hunt for small wildlife, such as rabbits, squirrels and voles. It takes several years to move up to that status.

A member of The Izaak Walton League of America, Jack Wolfe was fond of target shooting with a .22 rimfire bench rest rifle, his wife said.

In addition, he was a hang-gliding instructor, she said.

Connie Wolfe said she and her husband were married for almost 21 years, but they knew each other for about 40 years. They met when he was working behind the counter at a slot-car raceway in Maryland, she said.

Jack Wolfe later worked for 25 years as a mechanical engineer at Marsh-McBirney, a Frederick, Md., company in the water and wastewater flow business.

He retired about a year and a half ago, then took a research and development job with Action Products in Hagerstown, she said.

According to the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission's 2004 Business & Industry Directory, Action Products manufactures custom medical products, as well as recoil pads and leather goods for the military, law enforcement and sporting industries.

Connie Wolfe said other survivors include his stepdaughter, Christina Lowe, and three cousins.

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