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Crashes kill two in county

December 14, 2006|by PEPPER BALLARD

WASHINGTON COUNTY - A local man and woman who both were traveling alone died Wednesday in separate, single-vehicle accidents in Washington County, Maryland State Police said.

Larry Edwin Hause, 64, of Greencastle, Pa., was killed on impact when the 1994 Chevrolet Lumina he was driving struck a tree in the median of Interstate 81 at about 4:30 p.m., police said.

April Anne Piston, 44, of Frederick, Md., was driving her 1995 Pontiac Grand Prix north on Boonsboro Mountain Road, about 100 feet from its intersection with U.S. 40, when she lost control on a curve and skidded into a guardrail at about 8:15 a.m., Trooper 1st Class W.R. Herman said.

At about 6 p.m., traffic on I-81 near U.S. 40 moved slowly past Hause's crumpled white car, which sat near a tree facing the northbound lanes. Trooper 1st Class P. Martin said the car traveled about 450 feet in the median before hitting two trees. The car's bumper was lying on the ground, and pieces of the passenger window frame hung from the car.

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Witnesses told police they saw Hause's car drift off the road before it went into the median, police said.

The car came to rest several feet from the road, and about a dozen personnel were on the scene about 1 1/2 hours after the crash.

The passing lane of I-81 northbound was closed for almost three hours after the crash, police said.

Herman said Piston was pronounced dead at the scene of the morning accident. Her car struck the guardrail on its driver's side.

Piston's backseat was filled with wrapping paper and wrapped Christmas presents, which troopers determined were intended for her niece and nephew who live out of state, Herman said.

About an hour after the crash, Herman leafed through Piston's possessions while sitting in his police cruiser. At the time, troopers were trying to find Piston's family and wanted to get the Christmas presents to their intended recipients.

Herman called the scene "heart-wrenching," and said the woman's cell phone had Christmas tunes as ring tones.

Herman said Piston had dropped off her teenage son at Boonsboro High School and was headed either to work or to mail the presents.

He said she was a State Farm Insurance employee, but he did not know at which branch she worked.

She was engaged to be married, he said.

Staff writer Karen Hanna contributed to this story.

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