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Man drives truck off cliff

January 25, 2007|by PEPPER BALLARD

CASCADE - A Smithsburg-area man was charged with driving under the influence Wednesday after he drove his pickup truck off a cliff near High Rock, according to Maryland State Police.

Police said they found Travis Blickenstaff, 25, about 80 feet below the cliff, trapped inside an overturned 1999 Ford F-150 pickup truck at 6:37 a.m.

Blickenstaff, of the 2200 block of Jugtown Road, was pulled from the truck and taken by ambulance to Washington County Hospital, where a hospital spokeswoman said he was in good condition Wednesday night.

State Police Sgt. S. Wallace said police found no skid marks at the crash site. Police could not determine how fast Blickenstaff was driving, but Wallace said she suspects he was not going very fast because of the winding roads that lead up to the cliff that serves as a launch site for hang gliders.

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During the truck's descent, it "went in between trees and then hit a big rock at the bottom head-on. The truck hit nose down and flipped over on the driver's side," Wallace said.

Cpl. Cody Miller said a trooper sent to check on a man in the area of High Rock found Blickenstaff inside the crashed truck.

The truck sustained fairly minor damage, Wallace said.

"He was pretty lucky," she said.

Wallace said Blickenstaff was "moving all of his limbs and was able to talk" when emergency crews reached him. She said, "There were indications that he had been drinking."

Blickenstaff was taken to the hospital as a priority two patient, Miller said.

Priority two is a designation given to patients who have suffered serious, but not life-threatening injuries, a Washington County Emergency Services dispatcher said.

A Maryland State Police helicopter, the Washington County Special Operations Team and rescue crews from Smithsburg, Leitersburg and Blue Ridge Summit, Pa., responded to the scene, according to state police.

Staff photographer Kevin G. Gilbert contributed to this story.

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