Police say Pa. man dies in crash during road race

May 31, 2006|by PEPPER BALLARD


A strip of straight road on Md. 64 near the Pennsylvania state line - the site of a Monday night road race and fatal accident - has caught the attention of Maryland State Police, Lt. Gregory Johnston said Tuesday.

"Anytime we have a report of a problem, we're going to address it," Johnston said.

Michael Bruce Neibert, 19, of Waynesboro, Pa., was killed Monday night when the 1988 Ford Mustang he was driving crashed into a tree, police said. Neibert, who was racing against another car, was traveling east in the westbound lane of Md. 64 when he swerved his car to avoid hitting a motorist driving toward him, police said. When Neibert swerved, his car went up an embankment and into a tree, police said.

Neibert was pronounced dead at the scene, Johnston said. His passenger, Gary Wayne Bird Jr., was taken to Washington County Hospital, where he was listed in fair condition Tuesday night, according to a nursing supervisor there.


Johnston said state police were in the process Tuesday of identifying the driver of the car against which Neibert was racing. He would not release the make or model of that car.

He said state police are aware of several areas in the county where car and motorcycle races occur and Md. 64 has been added to the list.

"We encourage people to let us know where they are," he said.

He said police perform special checks of the areas, the locations of which he would not disclose, to try to thwart the activity.

Lynn Diller, 23, who lives down the road from where the crash occurred, said Md. 64, also called Smithsburg Pike, has been the site of some road racing over the past few years.

"Summer nights, it doesn't even have to be the weekends," he said.

Diller said he heard cars racing Sunday night and heard the crash Monday night.

He said he heard tires screeching, followed by the sound of a collision and breaking glass. As he was leaving his home to help, Diller saw another car speed toward Waynesboro.

"As far as drag racing, those buddies of his kind of deserted him," he said.

There were four or five cars at the accident scene when he arrived, Diller said.

Mark Smith, 25, of Waynesboro, was among those at the scene Monday night. Smith, who said he was not racing, said Neibert had owned the Mustang for only about a week.

"I just hope it makes a lot of people wake up and quit the street racing," Smith said.

Wayne Kennedy and Daniel Shearer drove in a van to the crash site Tuesday morning and looked at the tree that Neibert hit and the tire tracks running through the grass.

Parked on the opposite side of the road, Kennedy looked over his shoulder at the tree and shook his head in disbelief.

The 53-year-old Waynesboro man said he used to watch Neibert when he was a child.

"He was a very good boy," he said.

Kennedy got tears in his eyes talking about taking Neibert to McDonald's and The Golden Corral.

He said Neibert played football when he was younger.

Shearer, 59, of Waynesboro, said Neibert "was no dummy with vehicles."

Neibert's father runs a junkyard, they said, and Neibert liked to tinker with cars.

Neibert graduated in 2005 from Waynesboro Area Senior High School, Principal Jon Bilbo said.

Bilbo said counselors were on hand Tuesday to talk with students who were grieving Neibert's loss. He said school officials were keeping a tally of how many students requested early dismissals and were keeping track of school absences.

"We were told a number of our students were there," he said, referring to the crash scene.

Johnston asks anyone with information about the accident to call state police at 301-739-2101.

Staff writer Erin Cunningham contributed to this story.

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